Intellectual property

The Intellectual Property of the University is managed by Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships.

The University of Sydney (Intellectual Property) Rule 2002 (PDF) outlines the University’s rules about Intellectual Property ownership, reporting obligations and the management and commercialisation of Intellectual Property, including disbursements back to inventors.

Types of intellectual property


Copyright provides free and automatic legal protection for original materials such as literary, artistic, dramatic, or musical works. The University's Copyright site includes 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.

Software may also be protected by copyright. More information about licensing and open source.

Trade marks

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.

Registering a trade mark
Trademarks are registered and managed through Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships. The first step is to complete a Trade Mark questionnaire (Word doc). This needs to be signed by the Brand Unit confirming that the mark is in line with the University’s Brand Style Guidelines.

Confidential information

This includes facts or information that is 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 Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships 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 Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships. Members of staff and students can report Intellectual Property they create to CDIP by completing a Record of Invention Form (DOC)

Plant breeder’s 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 Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships.

Registering plant breeder's rights
Plant breeder's rights are registered and managed by Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships. The first step is to complete a Plant Breeder’s Rights Disclosure form (Word doc) and return it to CDIP.

Physical materials

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

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 Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships or fill in an Outbound MTA form

Return forms to:

In order to expedite evaluation of the created intellectual property, completed forms can be , however, a signed original hard copy must also be returned to:

Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships
Level 6, Jane Foss Russell Building
Building G02, Darlington Campus,
City Rd (near Butlin Avenue),
University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia