Researcher and business collaboration

Collaborations involving intellectual property (IP) can be complex. It's important to consider  how you'll manage your IP early in the process.

How can I protect my IP?

Before you try to commercialise your idea, you should consider whether you need to file for IP protection.

We administer IP rights for:

You can also get IP protection without registration for copyright and circuit layouts.

Learn about the different types of IP

In the meantime, you can ensure that sensitive information remains confidential with a non-disclosure agreement.

How can I commercialise my IP?

If you're looking to commercialise your idea, you can:

  • Speak to your university or research organisation's technology transfer office for advice
  • Consider your commercialisation pathways. You may want to to sell or license IP, create a business or collaborate with an industry partner
  • Take a look at the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, which supports researchers on their commercialisation journey.

How to commercialise IP

Where can I find a collaboration partner?

The following online resources can help you find a collaboration partner:

  • Easy Access IPoffers businesses free access to IP from Australian universities
  • Industry growth centres can support your collaboration
  • University technology transfer offices 
  • Research organisations.

How do I define the terms of my collaboration?

To define the terms of your collaboration, you can use a model term sheet. It can help you to:

  • Define your project
  • Outline the basic terms and conditions of your collaboration
  • Engage with internal policies, processes and approval mechanisms
  • Negotiate with collaborators.

How do I draft a contract?

You can use the information on your term sheet to draft your final contract, using either a model contract or mini contract for this purpose.

Seek professional advice

While our model and mini contracts are a good starting point, we strongly recommend you seek legal advice before entering into an agreement.

Engage an IP attorney

What to consider during collaborations

Before you get started, you'll need to consider what both parties are bringing to the collaboration and how you'll manage existing or new IP.

In some instances, issues may arise when existing IP is built upon during the collaboration. Background IP usually refers to existing IP that belongs to one of the parties, while third party IP belongs to a party that's external to the collaboration.

As such, issues that may impact your collaboration include:

  • Whether it requires any background or third party IP
  • Whether you'll develop new IP
  • How to manage ownership and licensing rights.

Use the collaborations checklist or the mini collaborations checklist to help you manage these issues. 

Need help with your collaboration?

The Australian Government offers a range of support for researcher and business collaborations. This includes:

  • Information and advice
  • Where to apply for grants and financial help
  • Links to different advisory services.

Visit business.gov