Consider ownership of new IPSuccessful R&D collaborations will generate new “foreground” IP, so it is important to think ahead about who will own any such IP.IP ownership rules vary from country to country. Inventors typically have the initial ownership of their invention, but national laws and/or employment agreements may well deter- mine that ownership rests with another party, usually the inventors’ employer. Particularly in the case of universities, the source of any funding for the relevant research may also affect ownership.
The issue of ownership of foreground IP can be a stumbling block in collaboration negotiations. Joint ownership is a possibility, but this can have significant drawbacks, as explained in Box 1, so it is advisable to come to an alternative arrangement. Although ownership of IP can be advantageous, ensuring that both parties receive the broader benefits provided by the collaboration should be the overriding objective during negotiations.