IP terms in research-related contracts

IP, or the results and outcomes of your research, is just one of the matters that your Research Services contracts specialist is likely to ask you about when preparing a contract for you, whether it is a research agreement, a confidentiality agreement or a material transfer agreement.

Many different terms are used in agreements to describe intellectual property rights and know-how. For example, there may be a need to distinguish rights that already exist, prior to the arrangement that an agreement is intended to govern, from those that may arise as a result of activity under the agreement. Terms such as 'background rights' or 'pre-existing know-how' may be used to describe existing rights. Rights that may arise, for example as a result of research that is to be conducted with support from a research sponsor, may be referred to in conditions attached to the sponsorship as 'foreground rights' or 'arising IP'. The ownership of background and foreground rights may differ, which is one reason why a clear understanding of the IP terms in an agreement may be important for all the parties concerned.

Information on the types of contracts commonly entered into by the University may be found in our Research Contracts section.