- For UW researchers
UW’s intellectual property policy at its highest level of interpretation grants ownership of any intellectual property (IP) to the creators of the IP. UW embraces the philosophy that providing incentive through IP ownership is the best motivator to ensure that commercialization of research occurs for broad societal and economic benefit. The IP policy also serves to generally attract more entrepreneurial oriented faculty and graduate students who wish to be engaged in commercial enterprise either through contract research and licensing opportunities with industry or under their own independent efforts to pursue commercialization of their research outcomes. It is this entrepreneurial culture that has positioned UW as a national leader in the transfer of ideas and technology to the private sector. More Canadian high-tech and knowledge-based spin-off companies trace their roots to UW of Waterloo than to any other school.
Of course UW’s IP policy is also accommodative of the needs of industry who support research projects under contract research partnerships. The IP policy does have the flexibility to enable UW to limit its faculty creator’s ownership rights in any IP developed under contract research situations in order to grant industry collaborators with some access or rights to use any IP created from such funded collaborations. Under such situations the IP ownership still vests with the UW creators, however the industry collaborator is granted an opportunity to license rights to the IP in their particular core business markets.
In situations where a UW creator-owner wishes to utilize the IP management and commercialization expertise of UW’s Waterloo Commercialization Office (WatCo), the UW creator-owner must first formally assign commercialization rights to UW. The WatCo executes a formal agreement with such creator-owners whereby the WatCo incurs any costs associated with IP protection (eg. patents) and assigns professional staff to manage and achieve commercialization success. Under this partnership, the success from commercialization efforts is split 75% to the creator-owners and 25% to UW (net of UW’s recovery of IP protection costs). In situations where the UW creator-owner wishes to commercialize independent of the involvement of WatCo, they are free to do so without any further requirement to share any commercialization revenues with UW.
It is our belief that UW’s IP policy is the most entrepreneurial oriented in North America, and possibly worldwide, and is the engine for driving the commercialization success of UW research based innovations.