The OGC provides advice and legal support to staff of the University regarding intellectual property. In collaboration with Sydnovate, the Research Office and the Copyright Officer, we assist staff with a variety of intellectual property related matters such as research contracts, patent registration, copyright licences and various other transactions entered into by the University.
The University of Sydney (Intellectual Property) Rule 2002 outlines the University’s rules about intellectual property, including reporting obligations, management and commercialisation of intellectual property owned by the University and disbursements back to inventors.
The intellectual property of the University is managed by the office of Sydnovate, with legal support from the OGC.
Types of intellectual property
The information below is intended as a very brief summary of different types of intellectual property rights that are most relevant to the University. For more information or for specific enquiries, please contact the OGC.
- Copyright provides free and automatic legal protection for original materials such as literary, artistic, dramatic, or musical works. The University has a detailed copyright portal on its website, accessible here, which sets out information on the nature of copyright, the University’s policies and advice for staff and students. Copyright enquiries can be directed to the Copyright Officer or the OGC.
Software may also be protected by copyright. More information regarding software and open source licenses can be found here.
- A trade mark can refer to letters, words, phrases, sounds, smells, shapes, logos, pictures, aspects of packaging or a combination of these elements. In Australia, trade marks are applied for and registered with IP Australia, a government authority, and allow a trader the right to distinguish their goods and services from other traders. The University’s trade mark portfolio is managed by the Intellectual Property Unit within the office of Sydnovate. Any trade mark related enquiries should be directed to Sydnovate or the OGC.
- The term ‘confidential information’ means facts or information that are not in the public domain, including know-how and other proprietary information. Researchers who may wish to share or disseminate confidential information with external parties should contact the office of Sydnovate or the OGC directly to determine whether a Confidentiality Agreement is required.
- A patent is a right granted for a device, substance, method or process. There are various requirements which must be met in order to successfully register a patent. Once registered, a patent allows the owner an exclusive right to make commercial use of an invention for as long as that patent is in effect. All patents for University inventions are applied for through the office of Sydnovate. Members of staff and students can report intellectual property they create to Sydnovate by completing a Record of Invention Form which is available on the Sydnovate website.
Plant Breeders Rights
Also known as Plant Variety Rights, Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) is a form of protection granted to breeders of new varieties of plant. IP Australia is the registration authority in Australia and if the new variety meets the requirements set by IP Australia in respect to key criteria, then the breeder will be granted exclusive control over the propagating material and harvested material from the new variety for a number of years. The University’s PBR portfolio is managed by the Intellectual Property Unit within the office of Sydnovate.
Materials include new physical objects and matter such as chemical compounds, mice strains, germplasm, fibre optics, human and/or animal tissues (and resulting cell lines), pathogens, and others. In some cases the physical material will covered by a patent or its structural information may be protected by copyright. Researchers who wish to share their materials with researchers in other institutions or with companies should first contact Sydnovate or fill in an Outgoing MTA form available here.