Whilst businesses may have the ability to perform such research internally, increasingly it makes commercial sense for businesses to partner with third parties to pool resources and skills to develop new processes or products. For example, these may include links with academic establishments or specialist providers of goods and services.
There are some essential issues surrounding intellectual property that need to be agreed from the very beginning of the project. Without a clear written agreement that sets down the ownership, obligations and liabilities of the parties involved, problems can arise further down the road.
For example, a typical idea born through research and development may move through the prototype stage to become a finished product available for the public to buy…
- Have you and your partners decided who will own the copyright in any recorded material?
- Do you know who owns the patent?
- Have you reached agreement about licensing and how each party may use the results? Or,
- How any royalties and profits will be divided?
It is essential that these issues are dealt with at the outset rather than at a point in the future when the parties are in dispute. Whether your invention or process becomes a success or a failure, the negotiations over the benefits and liabilities will be much more difficult once the project is underway.