Are you interested in collaborating with researchers but need to know more about Intellectual Property considerations? Would you like to understand more about the terms and conditions in research collaboration agreements? If so, it may be worth using the Australian government’s recently released IP Toolkit.

The IP Toolkit for Collaboration was jointly developed by the Department of Industry and Science (as it was at the time) and IP Australia. It is intended to be a guide and not a replacement for legal advice. The toolkit is divided into three sections:

  1. Guide
  2. Tools, and
  3. Contracts.

Guide

The guide section summarises why you might want to consider a collaboration and tips for how you might go about initiating one. It also explains how the IP toolkit can help, summarises what IP is, and provides a few case studies. The full toolkit guide also contains links to websites that may help you to identify potential researchers to collaborate with.

Tools

This section contains a checklist for setting up a collaboration, a template confidentiality agreement for use prior to discussions and a form to assist in defining the scope of the collaboration and identifying terms of collaboration that can assist in drafting an agreement.

Contracts

This contains a full and a mini template collaboration contract. Terms identified using the ‘Terms’ tool can be used to fill in the template.

Each of these sections is further divided into a full toolkit and a mini toolkit aimed at simple collaborations or those valued at less than approximately AU$100,000.

The mini toolkit guide basically appears to be a shortened version of the full toolkit and therefore contains less information. It is unclear whether only relevant information for simpler collaborations has been retained. For example, in the ‘Commercialisation and IP scenarios’ section, only two scenarios are provided in the mini toolkit guide whereas five are given in the full version. The additional three scenarios in the full version could be applicable for less complicated or lower value collaborations though. Nevertheless, if you think you have a simple or lower value collaboration the mini Toolkit is a good starting point.