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.


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,


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

More than your h-index

Again, to those who came to this Research Bites session called More than your h-index?, which was all about author bibliometrics, many thanks for staying for a slightly longer than advertised session, and for taking part in the interesting discussions that were sparked by the presentation.

The slides are available here:

Follow on information:

Does the h-index only cover journal articles? This actually varies from source to source, and also what the h-index is in relation to. Theoretically you can use any type of work that accrues citations and calculate the h-graph based on that. Citation databases such as Scopus and Web of Science may not include every document an author has published as they have deliberate coverage policies (Scopus’ Content Coverage is available in detail. Web of Science coverage depends on your subscription and the h-index will vary accordingly). The h-index is calculated based on the items listed in the results list in either database, the majority of which are likely to be journal articles and conference proceedings. If there are letters, editorials etc in the list, they will be included, though items that were not cited at all will not affect the h-index.

Are patents covered? Although patents can be found through Scopus they are not included in the h-index. Patents (and many other things) are excluded from Google Scholar’s metrics coverage.

Thomson Reuters (prop. Web of Science) do have a product called Derwent Innovations Index, which allows patent searching and citation analysis of patents. (Possibly an interesting paper describing the h-index for patents by Jian Cheng Guan and Xia Gao).

Publishing with IEEE

We were pleased to welcome Julia Stockdale who represents IEEE to the University at the end of February. She delivered a useful presentation on why and how to publish with IEEE. The recording will be available soon.

Although IEEE stands for Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, it publishes on a very wide range of subject areas where technology is applied.


It is an enormous, prestigious society which publishes 170+ journal titles and provides papers from 1400+ conferences annually.

Julia mentioned the IEEE Author Digital Toolbox which provides you with comprehensive guidance for submitting papers to the IEEE.

One guide to highlight:

The How to Write for Technical Periodicals & Conferences Guide – in English

The How to Write for Technical Periodicals & Conferences Guide – in Chinese

There are some other recordings of similar, but more detailed sessions delivered by IEEE members and editors.

Part 1: Overview & Publishing Options from IEEE

Part 2: Audience & Paper Structure

Part 3: Ethics, Where to Publish, Open Access & Impact Factor

Part 4: Using IEEE Xplore and Other Author Tools

First series of Research Bites have started

The first six sessions in the Research Bites programme are now being delivered throughout July.

We’ve already delivered ‘Do you need to submit an electronic thesis?’ and ‘Impact factors and all that’ and will be using this blog to provide answers to questions raised during the sessions.

These sessions are all bring held in Bowland North SR 25 at 12pm.

Coming up next:

What about Patents? Thursday 17th July 2014
Learn about the unique nature of patents and how to find them.

What you need to know about Open Access Thursday 24th July 2014
Learn why Open Access is important and how the Library can support you through it.

Social media – tools and tips for researchers Friday 25th July 2014
Get an introduction to how social media can work for you as a researcher.

Open session Q&A Thursday 31st July 2014
We’ll aim to help you get past your research barriers and answer any Library-related questions you have.