IP Management & Commercialisation

Intellectual Property (IP)

Are you an Innovator?

Innovation is a process that brings together various novel ideas in a way that they have an impact on healthcare for the benefit of the patients. Innovation at NUH refers to the notion of doing something different, better or safer. It can also have a commercial aspect that will save on costs and bring in revenue for the trust and innovators.

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got” – Albert Einstein

Innovation is not limited to those working in research departments and can be generated through the work and forward thinking of all of the Trust’s employees.

Are you an Inventor?

Inventions are different to innovations in that refer more directly to the creation of the idea or method rather than its use. There is always IP associated with an innovation. It is important, therefore, to understand that the protection and exploitation of IP is recognised throughout the Trust and that it supports innovation.

What is Intellectual Property

It is called “intellectual” property because it is the product of human imagination, creativity, and inventiveness.

Awareness and Appreciation of IP

This involves the education of all staff through workshops, drop in clinics, one to one discussions and as part of induction of new staff. This needs to be reinforced on a regular basis to ensure that all IP is recognised, captured, protected and ultimately exploited for the benefit of the Trust and inventors.

Can you improve healthcare?

“Necessity is the mother of invention” – Anonymous

Improvement refers to the notion of doing something better to improve health and health services. Innovation in healthcare should make the patient experience better and improve safety.

Innovation in healthcare can take many forms, ranging from drug therapies, surgical procedures, devices and tests, through to new forms of health professional training, patient education, and management, financing and service delivery models.

The majority of NHS IP does not come from Research but from every day clinical practice.

The Importance of IP cannot be over-emphasized

At NUH we want to deliver the best possible patient care and openly encourage all staff to help develop and exploit Intellectual Property irrespective of job title or position.

Examples of IP that may be exploitable:

  • Medical Devices and other equipment
  • Improvements in diagnostic processes and kits
  • Service improvements
  • Software, training materials, databases, guidelines
  • Pharmaceutical products and processes


  • Keep the idea confidential
  • Keep good records with dates to show you are the inventor
  • For inventions, complete and return an assessment/disclosure form
  • Talk to R&I IP as early as possible
  • Read the Trust IP policy


  • Disclose the idea before the IP is protected
  • Submit papers for publication before protecting the IP
  • Sign material transfer or confidentiality agreements from other organisations

Who is an inventor?

Inventors are those who provided intellectual creativity into the idea, rather than simply following instructions.
Under section 39 of the Patents Act 1977, if the inventor is an employee and the invention is made in the course of their duties, then the invention belongs to their employer.

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