Intellectual Property: A Students’ Guide

A students’ guide to intellectual property and where to go for advice, information and support

What is IP?

Intellectual Property (IP) is a term used to describe an individual’s creative output such as an invention.  Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) such as trademarks, patents, copyright and design rights are the legal means that can be used to prevent others from using your creative output without your consent.

The UK Government’s Intellectual Property Office has created a short online course on IP & IPR for students who want to learn more. 

Contacts for advice

The College’s IP Team can provide advice on Imperial’s IP policy.

The Business School also have expertise in how IP is managed in business and industry.

Student IP ownership

There is a specific guidance about student generated IP at Imperial College London.

Students are typically issued an IP ‘clearance letter’ from Imperial after submitting a Student IP Due Diligence form (signed by their supervisor) to the Research Office.

The College provides general advice and guidance for College inventors.

Keeping things confidential

Before disclosing details about your new ideas, publishing information or filing a patent, it is sometimes useful to propose a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to those you are engaging with, or at least being careful to share only details that will not put your IP at risk.  The UK Intellectual Property Office provides free NDA templates.

Managing the costs

A good IP strategy can make effective use of confidentiality, trademarks, patents, copyright or design rights, but you should carefully consider the costs, benefits and timing of your approach.

Here are some examples of useful guides, but always seek independent professional advice for your particular case and circumstances:

Video: Protecting your idea in the UK

Information Sheets: The Cost of a Patent

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