FAQs & Policies and Guidelines
Here are some commonly asked questions and answers on how ILO can work with you to protect, manage and commercialise your
What Is intellectual property?
Intellectual property (IP) is a legal concept which refers to creations
of the mind for which exclusive rights are recognised. Common types of intellectual property rights include copyright, trademarks,
patents, and trade secrets. If you are in the science field, most IP is in the form of patents.
can be patented and is my idea patentable?
Most inventions can be patented if they fulfill the following three criteria:
Novelty, Non-obviousness, and Industrial Utility. Things that are outright unpatentable (depending on the country) include
laws of nature, discoveries and mechanisms, and methods of treatment.
What type of protection
does a patent actually grant?
Having a patent for your invention does not give you the right to practice an invention,
but it does give you the right to exclude others from doing so. During the time a patent is in place, a patent holder or
licensee can exclude competitors from making and selling products similar to the patented idea of invention.
How do I get started submitting an invention to ILO?
If you have an invention to disclose, please complete
. After it is received by our office, one of our case officers will schedule a meeting with you to further discuss
the invention. After conducting a review of the technology to determine patentability and feasibility of commercialisation,
they will provide a recommendation for the appropriate type of protection for your invention.
How does ILO decide on whether to file a patent
application or not?
Our office bases our decision on patentability (which is subject to the three criteria described above)
as well as the commercial potential of the technology. This could include an evaluation of the market need, potential regulatory
and government hurdles, and initial interest from relevant companies.
How long does it take
for a patent to be granted?
It can take anywhere from 4-7 years after a patent application is first filed for an actual
patent to be granted. Along the way there are numerous costs involved and the application can be abandoned at any stage.
How long does it take to file a patent
Depending on the number of claims and complexity of the subject matter, it can take anywhere from 1 day to
1 month to draft and file a provisional patent application. A lot of it can depend on the availability of inventors to respond
to questions posed by the lawyers during the drafting process. Provisional applications can be filed rather quickly if there
is an urgent need but this practice is discouraged as it leads to very weak patent applications.
owns the invention and patent rights?
NUS is the legal owner of the invention and patent rights. Should NUS choose not
to file a patent application for your invention or abandon your application at any stage, you can make a request that NUS
assign the invention rights to you. NUS grants rights on a case-by-case basis.
Can early disclosure
of an invention compromise the right to protect my invention?
In most countries, the right of patent protection is lost
or jeopardized if a public disclosure is made prior to the filing of a patent application. A public disclosure is information
about the invention that is readily available to the public and that is “enabling” – meaning it describes
of the technology in enough detail that someone else in the field would be able to make and use the invention.
We therefore urge you to contact our office once you become aware of an impending public disclosure. We will work with you
to evaluate and protect your invention without affecting the timeline of your publication or conference proceedings.
What constitutes a public disclosure?
Common modes of public disclosure include: publications, lectures,
published abstracts and posters, conferences and symposia, theses and dissertations. Things that do not constitute a public
disclosure include: grant application and internal/departmental seminars and talks where external parties are not present.
Policies and Guidelines for Researchers
It is important that you be aware of and abide with the following IP-related policies:
Policies Relating To University Intellectual Property (version 110309)
The main purpose of the Policies set out in this document is:
- To clarify and regulate the protection, management and commercialisation of University Intellectual Property;
- To delineate the rights and obligations of the University and the University Members with respect to the Intellectual Property created or developed in the course of University Research;
- To motivate the creation, development and dissemination of Intellectual Property by providing appropriate financial rewards to the creators and the University.
Conflict of Interest Policy Relating to Spin-Off Companies
Some of the companies the University licenses its IP (“Spin-offs”) to involve University staff, alumni, and/or students who have a financial interest in the company. The growth of such licensing activities has given rise to questions about how the University should go about licensing its technology to a Spin-off as well as what other relationships the University should have with these companies. This Conflict of Interest Policy Relating to Spin-Off Companies aims to deal with how the University should handle certain issues involving Spin-offs and is meant to guide staff as to some things to watch out for. Staff can make a formal declaration using the Form: Application For Approval To Participate in a Spin-Off (Appendix D, ILO-COI_01/17).