4. What are the implications of these IP policies as it relates to innovation?
Because IP policies define who owns the IP and what rights the different stakeholders have, they are instrumental in determining what options exist for leveraging the IP that is developed in the institutional setting.
Therefore, it is important for these polices to be clear in articulating the rights of all stakeholders and do it in a way that is transparent to them.
Unfortunately, this is simply not the case for all IP policies.
For instance, from the vantage point of industry partners, some of these IP policies are seen as being unnecessarily complex with the result that they may deter industry investors in engaging with research institutions and as well discourage academic entrepreneurs.
Another concern is that often these policies do not clearly address what rights students have in relation to the research in which they are involved.
Many IP policies will stipulate that IP generated in the course of employment will belong to the employer.
So, this rule would apply to students hired as research assistants.
However, the situation is much less clear for students working on research or publications with academic staff or using significant university resources.
Despite of some of this murkiness, students should persevere and try and determine whether the research institution has an IP policy that covers them and if so, what their ownership rights are under the policy.
However, if there is no IP policy that covers them, then they should determine how to ensure that their IP rights and interest are protected
Also, even where the IP policy is clear that an inventor can benefit from the patents arising from their research, the inventor might want to understand if their research is being funded by a private sponsor because an agreement with a private sponsor may supersede the rights of the inventor since a contractual agreement will often override the IP policy.
To learn more about different forms of IP policies within the Canadian context, listen to the short clip from Peter Cowan.