Intellectual Property at UNB


“Intellectual property (IP) is the term generally given to knowledge and created works where ownership or a right to use may be legally protected. It includes proprietary and/or technical information and knowledge, including scientific and technical discoveries and any knowledge in a form which is useful and transferable, and which may be protected by law.”

Source: NSERC General Intellectual Property Considerations and Guidelines for Collaboration

Inventors (faculty, staff, students) have the option of assigning right, title, and interest in their IP to UNB, in exchange for access to funding, IP protection, commercialization assistance, the drafting and monitoring of agreements, and a share of commercialization proceeds. It is important to investigate, discuss, and document IP ownership in the early stages of a project, to help manage expectations and avoid future disagreements.

The Industry-Government Services group can assist inventors with the following items:

  • IP Ownership: Advise on the different collective agreements, policies, and guidelines that affect IP ownership for faculty, staff and students at UNB
  • Inventorship: Explain the differences between inventors and contributors and how these differences impact patent applications, assignment agreements, etc.
  • IP Protection: Identify and define different types of intellectual property and methods for protecting this IP (such as patents, trade-marks, etc.)
  • Patenting Best Practices: Advise on best practices related to patenting, including keeping information confidential, publication and disclosure guidelines, timelines, costs, etc.
  • Commercialization Process: Manage the process (internal steps) involved in protecting and commercializing intellectual property when inventors assign their IP to UNB

Protecting IP

Some primary methods of protecting IP include:

  • Patent
  • Trademark
  • Copyright
  • Industrial Design
  • Trade Secret
  • Integrated Circuit Topographies

Please see the Canadian Intellectual Property Office to learn more.

IP Ownership at UNB


  • AUNBT Collective Agreement [Full-Time (Group 1)] - Articles 38 and 39
    • Intellectual property developed by the Employee is inventor-owned
      • Exceptions: UNB administrative documents/correspondence, computer software or programs for internal administrative use
    • Employee owns copyright in traditional works of authorship
    • Decision to commercialize IP is with the employee/inventor
    • UNB and the Employee can negotiate an agreement for UNB to own and manage the IP 
    • Employee must disclose to the Vice-President (Academic) or the Vice-President (Saint John) the intention to patent or to commercialize intellectual property, on his or her own, within one (1) month prior to filing of the patent application or intellectual property sale
  • AUNBT Collective Agreement [Contract Academic Employees (Group 2)]  - Article 28 

Visiting Researchers

  • IP ownership is outlined in the position offer (letter) from UNB (VP Academic)

Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDF)

  • UNB Policy on Postdoctoral Fellows - Article 4.8
    • IP terms are also contained in the offer of appointment from the VP Research
    • Unless otherwise agreed in writing between the PDF and UNB, the PDF typically retains ownership of the IP
      • Exceptions: Some cases where the PDF is working under a university research contact or sponsored agreement

Note: In cases where the PDF retains IP ownership, UNB is provided a non-exclusive, royalty-free right to use the IP for internal purposes (e.g. education and research).

Graduate Student Workers

  • Union of Graduate Student Workers Collective Agreement - Article 22
    • Employee shall retain ownership and copyright of any lectures or course materials created exclusively by them
    • Except where precluded by the terms of a funding agreement, when an employee's duties involve a creative contribution to a research project, the Employee and Supervisor shall, in advance, discuss, agree upon and record in writing (with a copy to the School of Graduate Studies) the proportion of ownership which shall accrue to the employee based upon the planned effort and duration of the employee's involvement