Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Catapults manage IP in a professional and transparent manner. Their approach encourages collaborative working and helps the exploitation of IP.

Overall aims

The IPR arrangements between a Catapult and its customers and partners should facilitate the achievement of the programme’s overall goals. In addition, the arrangements are:

  • flexible enough to be tailored  to the different circumstances of partners and business users, large and small,
  • manage the development, protection and exploitation of new technology for the benefit of industry and encourage a knowledge of existing third party IP rights, and
  • not create burdensome costs for small companies and other customers.

Different arrangements for different activity

The arrangements differentiate between projects carried out under the three areas of funding:

For work done exclusively under core funding:

  • The Catapults will seek wherever possible to make Intellectual Property Rights available to business through appropriate licensing, spin out or other arrangements.
  • The objectives: To strengthen the Catapult’s overall technical capability and enable its delivery of overall goals effectively.
  • Catapults will also adopt a transparent and open model to incorporate underpinning IP from the knowledge base promoting collaborative behaviours.

For jointly funded collaborative work (business and the public sector):

  • Catapults will follow existing regimes for publicly funded collaborative research (for all partners to agree appropriate arrangements to share the rights to exploit IP created)
  • Catapults will expect to benefit through the increase in their overall expertise, skills and capability.
  • Catapults will also safeguard any IP that customers bring into the centre as part of a project (customers background IP).

For R&D contracted with business(es):

  • We would expect exploitation rights to new IP to be determined by contract and in general for these to lie with the businesses contracting with the centre.
  • The Catapult must also protect any IP that customers bring into the centre as part of a project (customers background IP).
  • IP arrangements with the customer must not inhibit future use of the centre’s background IP (e.g. for other customers).


Catapults manage IP in a professional and business-like manner.

They will:

  • encourage collaborative working between the Catapults, businesses and the research and knowledge base;
  • record and protect existing (background) IPR, including commercially-sensitive information, contributed to projects by both Catapults and their customers;
  • ensure that new (foreground) IPR created within projects is recorded and can be protected and exploited successfully to the benefit of all the project partners, including  the Catapults, depending on the circumstances of projects;
  • take account of the long gestation period from invention to licensable process

The business model of the Catapults will not depend unduly on income from IP to finance future activities but Catapults will ensure that their own IP supports the maintenance of their own knowledge base.

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