Council approved the new UCT Intellectual Property Policy on 27 July 2011. This culminated a process started almost a year ago, which was largely driven by a need to comply with the IP Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act (IPR Act) which came into law on 2 August 2010. Piet Barnard, RC&I Director, commented "Whilst many of the changes were necessary because of the IPR Act which influences the way in which UCT manages its IP, it was also an opportunity to clarify some "grey" areas and also to bring it up to date in terms of new IP developments such as Open Source and Creative Commons".
The policy can be downloaded here. Seminars are held on a regular basis to discuss the new IP Policy and to highlight some of the key changes - additional information can be found on the Seminars page.
The RC&I team developed a first draft of the new policy taking the various requirements of the IPR Act into consideration, as well as issues that had arisen with the existing policy that had been in place since 2004.
A Working Group was then constituted with Professors representing each UCT faculty who then reviewed the policy and provided valuable input. The draft was then presented to the Senate Executive Committee, changes made and then the full Senate reviewed it. After the Senate issues were addressed, policy moved through the Academics Union and finally to Council for final approval. The whole process went pretty smoothly, with some good tweaks being made along the way.
One of main changes being the adoption of OpenSource as the default for UCT in terms of software (does not preclude you from using other software and also any National IP Management Office approvals would still need to be sought for the OpenSource dissemination of research output). UCT also now has a policy of supporting Creative Commons licensing for copyrightable material.
An important change that flows through as a direct requirement of the IPR Act is the disclosure of inventions to Research Contracts and Innovation (RC&I) within 90 days of the discovery of the invention. You can find out more about invention disclosure here where you can also download an Invention Disclosure Form.
Whilst the benefit share for inventors remains unchanged from the 'old' policy (which is actually more favourable than the IPR Act!), splits to research groups, Departments, Faculties and the University have been changed - with sharing driven by the level of income.
An Intellectual Property Advisory Committee (IPAC) has also been established, comprising the DVC responsible for research, the Registrar and the Executive Director of Finance, as well as co-opted members which may for example be a Professor of Law, or a Professor with a specific technical background.
The IPAC will: advise on the establishment of spin-out companies and the share in equity of the founders of such companies; deal with disputes relating to IP; and evaluate requests for endorsements and use of UCT branding in accordance with the endorsement policy.