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SPINOUTS AT UCL 2019-10-28T19:39:02+00:00

UCL is a global leader in knowledge exchange, enterprise and open innovation with societal impact. Translating research results into exciting spinouts is a key part of achieving that goal.

UCL intellectual property and what it means for researchers

In most cases, UCL is the legal owner of IP developed by UCL-employed researchers in the course of their work. Patents aside, IP includes (but is not limited to) software, datasets, algorithmic methods and know-how. Publication of such IP does not change UCL’s status as the legal owner. The UCL staff intellectual property rights policy sets out the details of IP ownership for all technologies and know-how developed through research at the University.

Academic founders will often be required to confirm ownership and exploitation rights of any IP that the spinout depends on to operate. This may be in response to diligence activity from co-founders and potential investors. It is important for you to demonstrate evidence early on, of an appropriate licence from UCLB  to this IP; the existence of the licence also gives comfort that through UCLB’s due diligence process, other (non-founder) contributors to or owners of the IP (eg funders, collaborators) will have been appropriately identified and will be compensated in the case of a spinout success through UCLB’s revenue sharing mechanism. Academic founders are also advised to speak with their head of department to negotiate appropriate carve out of UCL research obligations where this may overlap with new obligations to your spinout; particularly where new IP is expected to be generated. Neglected, these IP matters can all cause the spinout to incur financial penalties in the future; a particular risk if the spinout goes on to be very successful.

All Portico Ventures applicants will be subject to IP due diligence with the aim of ensuring that an appropriate licence can be put in place prior to the company beginning to trade / take in investment. In order for UCLB to assess whether it is able to prepare the necessary licence(s), we need a full disclosure of the various items of IP that the business will require to operate. This process will usually start following an initial meeting with the researcher. For more information on the support we offer on IP due diligence, see our support guide.

Spinning out: the journey

Spinning out: the journey

Portico Ventures spinouts

Find inspiration in these researchers’ journeys from academic work to real-world customers.

Further options

Researchers who are keen to transform their research into a business and expect that their research may be patentable, can contact UCLB and explore taking this forward – business as usual.

If you already have an idea that you would like to develop further, but are not ready to start the entrepreneurship journey, come speak to us about early support options.  You might also want to consider exploratory funding from UCL I&E, or an intensive accelerator/incubator programme such as the UCL-supported  IDEALondon or the very early-stage Entrepreneur First programme.