When bringing an idea or innovation into the public domain it is in many cases essential to arrange for proper protection of intellectual property (IP), such as patents and trademarks. A successfully filed patent is a valuable asset.
Please note that it is not possible to receive patent protection when details of an innovation are already in the public domain – which includes scientific literature. So always remember to consider patenting before publishing! The two are not mutually exclusive, though. Applying for patent and publishing your results can be done simultaneously under the proper circumstances. The IXA business developers can advise you in this.
According to the Dutch Patent Act, universities and their medical centres own the rights to discoveries and inventions made by their employees. In their IP regulations they have extended this to discoveries of others, such as interns and externally funded PhD candidates. However, universities and medical centres have developed policies that acknowledge the researchers’ inventorship. In general researchers can look forward to a 1/3 share of the net income from exploitation of the IP rights. All researchers contributing to an intellectual (and original) invention are considered inventors and are mentioned in the patent as such.
The IP regulations of each institution state that any idea, invention or other form of knowledge that holds potential for commercial exploitation must be reported to IXA, who will then evaluate whether to protect it, for example through a patent filing. Subsequently the knowledge can be exploited, for instance through out-licensing to companies, or by starting a spin-off company.
The actual patenting process starts with submitting the IXA Invention Disclosure Form. The IXA business developers will inform you on all details and guide you through the process. After this the business developers start identifying companies or organisations for whom the invention can be interesting. Of course, any activities in this process, for instance in meeting with potential sponsors and licensees, and in helping the patent attorney in the patenting process are taken in close cooperation with you as the inventor.
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