Research Integrity: Concise

Intellectual property


Society generally grants the ownership of intellectual property to the individual who develops it

Research is first and foremost an activity of the mind or intellect. Researchers solve problems and develop new ideas. In the process, they produce intellectual products that can be owned and sold like physical products, such as cars, houses, computers and books. These 'products of the mind' are generally referred to as 'intellectual property'.

Granting researchers and research institutions the right to own intellectual property is presumed to encourage the development of new ideas and provide incentives to put ideas to work. Laying claim to intellectual property rights also poses challenges.

This course provides an overview of the responsibilities associated with the protection and ownership of intellectual property in research. Click on the cards to find out more about the topics covered in the course.


The legal mechanism that protects creative works through the control of the distribution of copies of these works.


The legal mechanism that protects the use of inventions through the control of the use of the processes and tools covered by the patent.

Ownership and use

The ways in which others can claim ownership of or use intellectual property created by researchers.

Emerging issues

A selection of case studies which have triggered discussions regarding the way intellectual property is developing.

This course is written in general terms that are broadly applicable across countries and different intellectual property (IP) systems. Visit the 'Australian intellectual property policies' screen at the end of this course for more information specific to Australia.