Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the set of properties that emanate out of human creative labour. In today’s world, Intellectual Property (IP) has become the lynchpin of a modern university. It is said that IP is the foundation of a new university. Traditionally, universities have been associated with two functions – teaching and research. The entrepreneurial function, wherein the university dons the role of an entrepreneur or becomes a ground for entrepreneurial activity did not exist traditionally. When the research output emanating out of a university translates into knowledge, which in turn results in the creation of commercially viable products or services, the protection of such research output becomes a necessity. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is a tool that protects such intellectual assets. Having said this, IPRs do not protect knowledge, per se but protect the products and services emanating out of knowledge. Typical forms of IP emanating out of a university include –
- Patents – from a university research.
- Trademarks – from a university project.
- Copyrights – materials created in the university.
- Design Rights – there could be design registrations from the university.
- Topography of ICs/Semiconductor chips – university could have registrations for layout of ICs
- Plant Varieties – these are generally registered by agricultural universities.
- Trade Secrets – A trade secret can come out of a university work.
- Geographical Indications (GIs) – these generally refer to a right that is common to a community but there have been instances in which universities have taken initiative in getting GIs registered (for instance, Kerala Agricultural University was the applicant for Vazhakkulam Pineapple).