Intellectual Property and the invention disclosure form

Updated on 7 July 2023

Information about intellectual property and how to let us know if you have an invention or idea that you think could make impact beyond your immediate research activities.

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Research and Innovation Services can help you explore different options and together we can develop a commercialisation strategy.

Tell us about your idea or invention by filling out the Invention Disclosure Form (IDF). All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Complete the Invention Disclosure Form (IDF)

What happens after you submit the Invention Disclosure Form

When you submit your idea to RIS, we will:

  • complete due diligence, including analysis of your funding and employment status of all named inventors
  • complete a search for prior art (any evidence that your invention is already known)
  • assess the market potential of your idea

RIS will contact you to further discuss the details of your idea and how best to move forward. In preparation for this, here are some things you should consider:

  • What do you think you need to move the project to the next stage? e.g. Money, people, equipment, academic or industrial partner?
  • How much R&D work is required before your idea is commercially attractive?
  • What is the potential market (size, territory, field of use)?
  • Is there more than one application?
  • Do you have contacts in the market already?

About Intellectual Property (IP)

RIS can help identify, protect and commercially exploit IP for the benefit of the University and you, the inventor. IP includes:

  • Copyright
  • Database rights
  • Design Rights
  • Know-how
  • Patents
  • Trademarks

Only patents, designs and trademarks require formal registration.

To find out more about IP in a university setting, download the Intellectual Property Guidelines from THEROS.

Patent protection

Certain IP may be suitable for patent protection. We will decide this with you, based on the novelty of the idea and its commercial potential.

For valid patent protection, it is important that your idea or invention has not been disclosed to the public before filing, where disclosures may include: abstracts, brochures, discussions with colleagues, emails, lectures, posters, presentations, publications, research applications, social media, theses and websites.

Each stage of the application process incurs costs to the university and will require input from you, the inventor, to move forward.

The patent process:

  • 0 months: initial filing.
  • 12 months: complete filing; any new material gathered over the past 12 months can be added and international applications (if any) are filed.
  • 18 months: application published.
  • 30+ months: final decisions on territories for protection made. Application(s) are examined and, if granted, have the potential to protect your idea for up to 20 years from when the complete filing was made

Confidentiality Agreements 

If you would like to discuss your ideas or know-how with third parties, e.g. collaborators or industry, but still keep it confidential, RIS can set up a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) - also known as a Confidentiality Agreement (CA) or a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA). Our team can prepare NDAs in house, and review any NDAs from third parties.

To set up a new NDA, please contact the relevant Research Development Manager.

Learn more about working with industry, commercialisation and IP

Rachel Simpson

Senior Commercialisation Manager


Research and Innovation Services