Patents are strong rights that help control the exploitation of an invention, up to 20 years after the patent application is first registered. Applying for and pursuing patents through to grant can be a lengthy process, taking several years, and can involve several stages of financial commitment on behalf of the University. Our RED staff members have the experience to manage the process while the potential of the invention continues to be explored and developed. At certain stages, typically when additional financial commitment is required by the University, the progress of each commercialisation project is reviewed and it is decided whether to change the approach and whether to continue.
Copyright arises automatically in work such as software, media, teaching materials and artistic works. It is associated with the form and expression of an idea rather than the idea itself. But if the form is particularly effectively crafted copyright can have considerable value, and greater longevity compared with patents. Copyright is not a registered right, though it is advisable that copyright materials be marked with the name of the owners and the date e.g. (c) The University of Bristol 2011.
Other forms of protection also exist which may be appropriate to your technology (e.g. trademarks). Our RED staff can also advise.