Spin out companies

Continuing on the theme of Intellectual Property, we had another interesting presentation from Gavin Smith from Research & Enterprise Services.

Lancaster University spin out companies

Attendees learned about some examples of spin out companies that are associated with Lancaster University, such as Relative Insight Ltd which conducts semantic analysis for the marketing industry, based on a huge database of language generated from PhD research.

Gavin also explained the different roles, requirements and risks associated with Limited Liability Companies and Sole Traders.

Limited Liability Company

  • liability to the shareholders
  • accounts are published
  • risk to the company, not the individual
  • roles and requirements stipulated by Companies House

Sole trader

  • liability to individual
  • accounts are private
  • more personal risk

Benefits

One benefit of forming a spin out company is that there are opportunities to apply for Research & Development funding that is not open to the University as a public body, such as from InnovateUK.

Typically, Lancaster University will invest 19% of the shares in a spin out company (risking £19), but will not help to run the company. The University does provide some ‘incubator space’ in InfoLab21 and LEC, with plans for the cTAP building and Health Innovation Campus likely to bring more.

What financial support is there regionally for start-up and spin out companies? There isn’t much available in English regions, or from Lancashire County Council. You may be interested to read more about finance and funding for businesses in Lancashire or Enterprise Ventures based in the north of England.

For more information about forming a spin out company, contact Gavin Smith directly. If you are interested in forming industry partnerships and licensing IP, rather than forming your own company, come along to the next session!

How do I engage with business, and get industry partnerships?

Wednesday 27th April, 12.00, Bowland North SR 4
A look at how to gain more meaningful and productive relationships with external partners and how be proactive in forming successful collaborative research partnerships.
Nick King/Colin McLaughlin, Business Partnerships Team, Faculty of Science and Technology

 

Filing a patent and commercialising your research

Many thanks to Gavin Smith, Intellectual Property Development Manager from Research & Enterprise Services, who delivered a clear and informative session about filing patents, and how the University can support researchers wishing to apply for, and license patents based on their research.

Patents are formal (i.e. registered) intangible assets which give the holder a short term monopoly.

Why patent?

  • A validation that research is “novel” and “inventive”
  • A door-opener to external organisations
  • May return impact case studies
  • May return industrial income
  • May return licensing income

The complete slides are available here, courtesy of the presenter: 20160308_ResearchBites_Patents_GJSmith

Lancaster University researchers have been granted many patents. You can browse a selection on the Research & Enterprise webpage.

A granted patent confirms that the research covered is world-leading, industrially applicable, and totally novel and inventive.

Questions

If I give a talk (e.g. at a conference or in the department) and reveal an invention, perhaps in the abstract, would this be considered ‘prior art’? Yes it could, so be careful about how much you reveal, and crucially when you reveal it.

Does the Research & Enterprise Office provide template disclosures? Gavin will work with you to compose the disclosure, so please seek advice early on when considering patents.

Do patents just reward novelty? No, patents also need to demonstrate an ‘inventive step’, not just novelty. They also need to be eligible, and capable of industrial application.

Intellectual Property Office

The UK Intellectual Property Office gives comprehensive advice on patents.

Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest, “Otto’s Patent,” accessed 16 Mar 2016,
http://quest.eb.com/search/115_2750042/1/115_2750042/cite

Intellectual Property and Enterprise – a new theme this Spring

Over March and April, Research Bites will focus on Intellectual Property and Enterprise, covering topics such as:

  • copyright, your own, the University’s and third party
  • patents
  • design rights
  • trademarks
  • spin out companies
  • business / industry partnerships

Join us for an informal 20 minute session. Just turn up, no need to book. Tea/coffee and cake provided.

March – April 2016

Filing and commercialising a patent based on your research

Tuesday 8th March, 12.00, Bowland North SR 4
Using patents to generate impact and revenue from your research.
Gavin Smith, Intellectual Property Officer, Research and Enterprise Services

Trademarks, design rights and copyright

Thursday 17th March, 12.00, Bowland North SR 3
Expert advice on intellectual property rights, other than patents, for your invention or research output.
Gavin Smith, Intellectual Property Officer, Research and Enterprise Services

Starting a spin-out company from your research

Monday 11th April, 12.00, Bowland North SR 19
Expert advice on forming a university company, running a company and obtaining finance.
Gavin Smith, Intellectual Property Officer, Research and Enterprise Services

Using copyright material in your research

Wednesday 13th April, 12.00, Bowland North SR 19
What to do about third party copyright in your thesis or research output, and how to navigate the grey area of ‘fair dealing’.
Lorna Pimperton, Academic Liaison Librarian & Copyright Officer, Library

Licensing your work with Creative Commons

Tuesday 19th April, 12.00, Bowland North SR 3
Creative Commons licences and how they communicate what others can do with your work.
Lorna Pimperton, Academic Liaison Librarian & Copyright Officer, Library

How do I engage with business, and get industry partnerships?

Wednesday 27th April, 12.00, Bowland North SR 4
A look at how to gain more meaningful and productive relationships with external partners and how be proactive in forming successful collaborative research partnerships.
Nick King/Colin McLaughlin, Business Partnerships Team, Faculty of Science and Technology

Photo Credit: Philipp Zieger – Thank you all for over 600.000 vi via Compfight cc

Intellectual Property in March

Apologies for the delay in getting this onto the blog! March’s programme is all about Intellectual Property. We kicked off with Lorna Pimperton’s session on Third Party Copyright.

Filing a patent on your invention, and commercialising it
Thursday 19th March, 12.00. Charles Carter A02
Expert advice on filing a patent for your invention, and the ways that the University can support you.
Gavin Smith, Intellectual Property Officer, Research & Enterprise Service

Sharing your data with colleagues in Lancaster and other institutions
Friday 20th March, 12.00. Charles Carter A02
Find out about the services and issues around sharing your research data with your collaborators.
Graeme Hughes, Head of Faculty IT, Information Systems Services

Choosing a Creative Commons licence for your research
Tuesday 24th March, 12.00. Charles Carter A02
Creative Commons licences and how they communicate what others can do with your work.
Lorna Pimperton, Subject Librarian and Copyright Officer, Library

**CANCELLED** Non-patent Intellectual Property
Thursday 26th March, 12.00. Charles Carter A02
Expert advice on design rights, trademarks for your invention or research output.
Gavin Smith, Intellectual Property Officer, Research & Enterprise Service

***We’ll try to reschedule the session on non-patent IP soon***

As always, just turn up, no need to book. Tea/coffee and a piece of cake supplied.

eTheses at Lancaster: a guide to submitting an electronic thesis

Many thanks to Louise Tripp and Annette Lawrence from the Library for delivering the useful session on eThesis submission recently.

Panopto_Logo  In case you missed it, you can now view the recording.

The Library website also provides guidance:

Questions

Are outputs uploaded to Pure searchable from outside the institutional repository? Yes, Google indexes the contents of Pure/ePrints.

During the session, Louise referred to HEFCE’s future requirements for making research open access so that it would count towards the post-2014 REF. Is it necessary to upload research conducted in previous employment at other institutions?  The policy will apply from 1 April 2016 to accepted journal articles/conference proceedings with ISSN so Lancaster researchers would have to deposit and make it Open Access from that point to count towards the post-2014 REF. They wouldn’t have to make research open access retrospectively.

February’s Research Bites programme is all about Open Access

OAlogo

The theme in January is Open Access.

We’re bringing together presenters from the Library, Research & Contracts Support Office and IEEE, to help you to develop your understanding of topics relating to parts of Domain D of the Researcher Development Framework: Engagement, influence and impact.

Join us for an informal 20 minute session. Just turn up, no need to book.

What you need to know about Open Access
Thursday 5th February, 12.00. Bowland North SR 4
Learn why Open Access is important and how the Library can support you through it.
Louise Tripp, Subject Librarian, Library.

Tools for sharing open research materials: Figshare and Zenodo
Friday 6th February, 12.00. Bowland North SR 4
This session looks at two Open Repositories (ORs) that promise easy sharing of research outputs:
Zenodo and Figshare.
Hardy Schwamm, Research data & Repository Manager, Library

Submitting an eThesis
Tuesday 10th February, 12.00. Bowland North SR 14
Find out why you need to submit your thesis online, learn how to do it, and address your worries about plagiarism and publication.
Louise Tripp, Subject Librarian, Library.

Adding Publications and Activities to Pure
Friday 13th February, 12.00. Bowland North SR 5
Improve access to your research by learning how to add your research outputs to Pure, the University’s research information system.
Sarah Brown, Research Support Officer, Research & Contracts Support Office

Intellectual Property issues in Open Access
Thursday 19th February, 12.00. Bowland North SR 4
An overview of the Intellectual Property issues you need to consider when publishing an Open Access research output.
Lorna Pimperton, Subject Librarian and Copyright Officer, Library

Research Bites Extra: Publishing with the IEEE
Friday 27th February, 12.00-1.00pm *60 minute session*, Bowland North SR 23
An overview of publishing with the IEEE for new and early career researchers in engineering, computing, medical and technology related areas.
Julia Stockdale, Sales Agent IEEE, Content Online Ltd.

Filing a Patent, and Intellectual Property Rights sessions

Research Bites have benefitted from the expertise of Gavin Smith, the University’s Intellectual Property (IP) Officer, over the last 2 weeks. He has delivered two useful sessions, which I’ll summarise. If you picked up on any points which I haven’t included, please do share them in the comments box below.

Filing a Patent on you invention and commercialising it, 4th Sept 2014

Patents are an intervention by the state into markets and a formal way of protecting your intellectual property.
The Intellectual Property Office is a comprehensive source of information, and the source of the following definition:

Your invention must:
  • be new
  • have an inventive step that is not obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject
  • be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry
  • not be:a scientific or mathematical discovery, theory or methoda literary, dramatic, musical or artistic worka way of performing a mental act, playing a game or doing businessthe presentation of information, or some computer programsan animal or plant varietya method of medical treatment or diagnosisagainst public policy or morality.

from IPO’s What is a Patent?

There is a process that needs to be followed when filing a patent, which involves making a very specific claim for what you want to protect. This includes a description containing enough detail to allow someone else to replicate your invention.

Patents operate on a ‘First to file’ basis, so the speed at which you prepare your claim is important. A patent examiner, who is an expert in the field, would then conduct a search report to see whether there is any ‘prior art’ (including your own previous work) which would prevent your patent being considered as new. They also examine your claim to make sure it is compliant and may ask technical questions about your invention.

The inventor is classed as the person with idea, not necessarily the person who made the invention. You do not need to have a working prototype in order to file a patent.

Non-patent Intellectual property, 12th Sept 2014
This session covered:

Copyright
It’s useful to consider the name of a product or business to make sure it is not already being used in your field of work. Includes registered trademarks and internet domain names.

Copyright is an unregistered right, you don’t need to apply for it, or pay a fee for it. The medium of the creative work doesn’t matter. You don’t have to apply the © symbol, but it does serve to remind people who owns the rights to the work. Copyright does not protect the idea behind the work, just the manifestation of the idea.

At the University, copyright is owned by the creator of the work, for example a journal article or book, except for teaching materials which have been developed. Copyright does give you the power of redress if someone uses your work improperly.

Design
A Design right protects the three-dimensional form e.g. coca cola bottle of an object, or the ‘two-dimensional ornamentation’ e.g. the logo, not the function. So if there is value in your design in terms of the way it looks, then it is worth considering registering a design right.

Trade marks
Anyone can use a name and the ™ symbol, but this doesn’t give you any formal rights. However, registered trade marks give you right to stop someone using your brand. If your brand’s name is considered to have value, and be known in association with the product or service, then it is worth registering.

Registered trademarks can be in different classes, i.e. the same name can be trademarked for different types of products, e.g. Polo mints, Ralph Lauren Polo shirts, VW Polo etc.

A recent dispute between Interflora vs. Marks and Spencer, where M&S had bought the Google AdWords for ‘Interflora’ so that their own florist service ranked higher in Google search results, was considered to infringe Interflora’s trademark rights, and is no longer possible to do.
Continue reading Filing a Patent, and Intellectual Property Rights sessions