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UK University Ranking Reveals Lack of Clarity with Access to Student IP Policies

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 A new IP (Intellectual Property) Rank listing has been created by a European Patent Attorney and a leading Mentor for Student Startups. The IP Rank listing looks at the IP polices of all UK universities and ranks them based on two main criteria – the students’ ease of retrieval of and access to their University’s IP Policy and/or Regulations and the transparency (or lack) of the IP Policies and/or Regulations in acknowledging IP creation and ownership by students as a distinct category of creators and exploiters of IP; exposing some unexpected results.

Dr. Claudia M. Duffy, European Patent Attorney and Founder of Innovare IP and Simon Krystman, serial entrepreneur and CEO & Founder of IdeasPatch created the ranking to tackle the problem of universities not being transparent about how they manage students’ IP.

Both authors have close engagement and collaboration with student entrepreneurs and student enterprise organisations. Through this work they identified that students (undergraduates and post-graduates) did not understand their entitlement (or not) to the IP generated during the course of their degrees. In many cases the IP entitlement was not explained to the students and/or students were not able to access the IP Policies of their universities.

Dr. Claudia M. Duffy, European Patent Attorney and founder of Innovare IP, a boutique IP practice, explained;

“IP commercialisation by UK universities (the so-called ‘technology transfer’) is a fundamental driving force behind entrepreneurship and job creation. But often the lack of guidance and transparency from universities coupled with badly written and/or not readily available university IP policies, could lead to a lack of entrepreneurial drive both from students and university staff.”

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The ranking was conducted from the perspective of a student entrepreneur and took into consideration the ownership and management of the IP developed by students.  Those universities that came out on top had policies that were student friendly and easily accessible.

Simon Kyrstman, serial entrepreneur and founder of IdeasPatch, said:

“This is not intended to be a naming and shaming exercise for the universities that ranked in Tier 4, far from it. In fact, we want to now proactively and positively engage with all those we ranked, helping them to improve and make their IP policies much more student friendly. We see it as in everyone’s best interests if the policies are clear, available and fair – as this is proven to be a huge stimulus for enterprise and creativity.”

The IP Rank website now includes an option for both universities and students to upload IP policies for review and ranking, meaning those who ranked lower than expected can make changes and move up the list. The ranking list is intended to be regularly updated on an annual basis. The website also provides for a download of the full IP Rank report.

Simon concluded: “Our long-term aim is to get every university in the country into tier 1. And we look forward to working with them to help make this possible.”

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