What & Why is Intellectual Property Important?


Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the novel or previously undescribed tangible output of any intellectual activity. It can include inventions, industrial processes, software, data, written work, designs and images, i.e. results of R&D or observations / eureka moments emanating from conducting your job which lead to ideas for a new product or process, be it a potential new treatment or a diagnostic technique, a new piece of equipment or new drug or software material.

IP arising from research activities may have commercial potential. This can be realised through patenting, copyright or know-how and later licensing to existing companies, formation of new companies or through co-operation with commercial companies to develop products with a market value.

There are strict rules about safeguarding such IP. If details are published prior to IP protection, exclusive rights over exploitation are lost. Staff / researchers who feel that they have a commercially and/or clinically viable idea or project should discuss the potential for protecting the idea before publishing the results of their activities (this process more often than not does not delay publication of any results).

Seeking protection of IP not only ensures that the originator of the idea and their employer is acknowledged as the inventor and owner respectively of the IP but can also attract investment from a variety of sources for developing the IP to a final product.

The NHS and Link opens in new windowScottish Health Innovations Ltd have the necessary resources to work with the inventor in developing IP.