IP Hub

Utilise your research, discoveries and insights through Aston's Intellectual Property Hub.

There are a few places in the world as inventive as universities. Yet it can sometimes seem daunting to translate research into a viable commercial venture. Here at Aston we aim to give you the best support possible when developing your ideas into products or services that can traverse beyond the confines of the institute.

On this page you will find some key information relating to IP and an inventors portal to disclose ideas that you'd like support commercialising.

We hope you find it helpful.

Translation is exciting, but challenging. The nature of invention means that you are often stepping into the unknown. To give guidance in this process we have put together four core pages to help you through this process on:

Identifying Intellectual Property

Protecting Intellectual Property

Developing a Route to Market

Understanding Your Role

  • Trevor Power: Director of IP and Commercialisation
  • Angela Jeffery: Strategic Business Partner
  • Luke Southan: Innovation and Knowledge Exploitation Manager

If you are interested in how you can take your research to market, get in touch with here.

Already Inventing?

If you already have a novel technology ready to disclose, please fill out the following document and return it to the team.

Initial Disclosure Form

It is likely, in the course of your working day you might invent half a dozen new projects. Your expertise will lead you to realise the impossible ideas, but on a good day, you'll realise your expertise might mean one of these impossible ideas isn't quite so out of reach.

Each idea you generate and begin to develop is intellectual property. However those that are actually commercialisable can normally be broken down into generating the following:

  • Patents
  • Copyright
  • Trademarks
  • Know-How/Trade Secrets

If you have a desire to generate IP that leads to the impact created by having your work actually used in the wider world then it can be worth considering this in your experimental design and the way that you work. This is where Aston's IP hub can come in and help you.

For more information please get in touch here.

'Don't tell anyone. But tell us'. This seems a strange sentence. But in protecting your IP secrecy is everything.

In academia we have a strange problem however. Publishing. It isn't just required for you to publish, discuss and present your work but a driving imperative. Letting the knowledge you generate the greatest good it can. And this leads to a rather large problem. Disclosure of your work can often prevent commercialisation.

If you develop a novel drug, but tell people before you patent, it is almost impossible that you will ever get the funding to complete clinical trials. The same is true in many other sectors.

So tell us everything. The earlier we know about the potential of your research the better we can support you in developing it and gain the best possible protection for it. If we know a year before you think your work is ready to publish, that it has potential to be more than just that publication, we can move the wheels so that you don't have to delay.

For more information get in touch here

Universities by their nature innovate, constantly creating new things across myriad areas. And it is understandable that the route to market for a novel drug is different that that of a new way to manufacture a fuel. Therefore a plan can't be generated until an idea is disclosed.

But in the end your inventions time at a university will tend (if successful) to lead to one of two things. Either the formation of a spinout, or a licensing agreement with another company well situated to bring the project forward. 

What IP hub offers is resource to help tailor the development of your invention. Moving it along to give the greatest chance of reaching the market. Either through using our knowledge of what industry wants to see in product pitches or through our understanding of how to form a start-up.

What we also hope is that we can continually educate you about the lifecycle of your invention. At times you might have to let go and allow someone else to take charge. This might feel very unnatural, especially if it has come from the culmination of years of academic research. But again, the earlier the project is disclosed to use the better we can help decide the best route. If you have hopes and goals for it, we can then aim to work it into the appropriate shape.

It is also worth noting that compared to industry your ideas are probably disclosed five years too early. There is often a huge amount of R&D to be done before the odds of success are normally at the point you would want to start shouting about it. This in itself means a plethora of unique challenges will appear and a unique support network needs to be created.

IP Hub is the foundation of this support network. It is too much work for any one person, or even any one team to bring an idea to market. Universities however offer experts in every field at your fingertips, all willing to help overcome the problems of getting to market. 

For more information please email us here.

The first and most important thing you can do is disclose your idea to us. Following this link will take you to the processes involved once you are in the RKE system but that initial step is key. We aim to do as much outreach and learning as we can in terms of meeting academics ourselves but it's impossible for us to know what everyone is doing at all times. 

Once you have made that initial contact we will generally have an informal meeting to discuss the invention followed by us asking you to complete a technology disclosure form. This allows us to understand far better the technology and do our due diligence. This involves checking for prior art, looking at the market potential and confirming as best we can freedom to operate. 

Your role at this point might seem to become a bit less clear. But we will guide you until we all reach the other side. Fully formed inventions might have a few weeks turnaround between disclosure and moving things forward with a patent attorney. Others might take years of monitoring the project as you hone your work, all the time allowing us to develop relationships with appropriate companies and help find you funding opportunities that match your development needs. 

But once we have a route developed for you, and we approach the point you have something to market. Then we have to convince the world. Here you will have to begin to both sell your work and yourself.

Whatever happens we hope that we can help make your role one that is exciting. It will inevitably be a long and difficult process, for even the best of projects. But we will offer you everything we can to help you and your work succeed.