Inventions and intellectual property

Inventor ownership

Although there are exceptions, in general, UNB has an inventor-owned intellectual property (IP) policy. This means that a UNB inventor has the choice to: (a) not pursue IP commercialization, (b) pursue IP commercialization themselves with their own resources and funds, or (c) assign their IP to UNB in return for commercialization assistance, including IP protection and funding.

A UNB inventor can be anyone affiliated with UNB, including full-time or part-time faculty, staff, graduate or undergraduate students, graduate student workers, post-doctoral fellows, visiting researchers, etc., who develops IP at UNB related to an academic or commercial project.

IP ownership considerations

Many factors can affect IP ownership, including, among others: joint IP development with individuals internal and external to UNB; IP terms and conditions imposed by, or negotiated with, funding agencies or external partners; and the inventor’s association with UNB.

Note that for all UNB inventors, if the IP was created using external funding (grant or contract) or in collaboration with non-UNB entities (e.g., collaborative research agreements with external partners, inter-institutional agreements with other educational institutions, etc.), there may be other IP ownership scenarios that could apply.

For students, IP ownership may be handled differently depending on their status at the time of invention; for example, whether they are doing the work as part of their academic program, versus when they are working under a separate agreement as a hired employee of UNB, or perhaps as a graduate student worker

Disclosure obligations for faculty

For Faculty, as directed by a process outlined in the AUNBT Collective Agreement, even if commercializing themselves, Full-Time (Group 1) faculty have an obligation to disclose an invention to the Vice-President (Academic) or Vice-President (Saint John) within one (1) month prior to filing a patent on, or selling, inventor-owned IP.

UNB then has thirty (30) days to respond (e.g., waiver of rights, or request IP Agreement). The IP is still inventor-owned (unless an agreement is negotiated with UNB to transfer ownership), but if an IP Agreement is required, the parties will negotiate the sharing of any net proceeds based on relative contribution.

Intellectual property support for inventors and partners

Inventors or partners should work with the R&I Partnerships team within the Office of Research Services (ORS) to determine what agreements are in place, or need to be put in place, prior to pursuing commercialization.

Technologies assigned to UNB can be licensed or optioned by companies, including spin-offs or start-ups created as part of the commercialization process.

After an invention is disclosed using a templated form, these licenses can be negotiated once the full rights and title to the invention have been assigned to UNB.

UNB inventors still retain the right to use the IP for further research and educational purposes, and to further develop and improve the IP; they also retain the rights to copyright in any academic publications, and will not be delayed by the requirements of this agreement in conducting their academic work, unless otherwise agreed upon.

Assigned technologies available for licensing

UNB's inventory of assigned intellectual property is available for licensing to interested parties. A list of UNB technologies, including a number that are currently available for licensing to interested parties, can be found on ExploreIP, a platform developed by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

For more information about UNB inventions, intellectual property and licensing:

Please contact us today to discuss your specific needs.


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