Protecting ideas for our common future

24th April 2024

Photo: BubbleFLO Ltd. founder Katie Vance is speaking alongside Mari Findlay of Interface at an IP event next month.

World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April is being marked with the theme IP and Sustainable Development Goals: Building our Common Future and Creativity.

Interface recognises the importance of IP and that organisations entering collaborations with universities may be hesitant about sharing their ideas and want to protect subsequent creations.

Laura Kerr, Interface’s Funding and Systems Executive, looks at why organisations setting out on a collaborative journey with universities should think about IP before they start.

“So, you’ve found an academic partner – perhaps through Interface – and are ready to develop/test/create something new and exciting, but what about the Intellectual Property? Does it belong to the academic institution, the academic, or your business/organisation?

Collaborations between businesses and academics more than likely generate Intellectual Assets, so it is fundamental that all partners are clear from the outset who owns the intellectual property and how it will be commercialised.

For businesses collaborating with academics, easy-to-use legal templates have been developed by Interface and Universities Scotland, which can be downloaded and act as a starting point to setting out IP agreements. They are an effective tool for starting a conversation between the partners and help make the whole process clear and simple from the start, with no doubts about each partners’ rights or who owns what. This way, organisations and academics can get on with the business of developing, testing and creating new products, processes and services, with the confidence that IP is protected and agreed in advance.

Aspects of IP to consider include: can academics write and publish papers on the research? What about IP of any new development created as a result of the partnership? What should be confidential, and is this permanent or for a specified period?

Although we have guidance on our website, and have developed legal templates for smaller projects, we would still advise that businesses and organisations look for independent advice when protecting and developing their ideas.”


Interface’s Business Engagement Executive for Dumfries & Galloway, Mari Findlay, will be speaking at an Intellectual Property training event for organisations and businesses at Dumfries & Galloway College on May 27. She will be joined by Katie Vance, who has been supported by Interface in developing a medical device for children with respiratory conditions.

For more information please see the event information here.