Our successes

Patents

The MRC Researchfish dataset from 2013/14 contains details of 849 discoveries in the intellectual property section. These include 74 reports of copyrighted works, 210 reports of discoveries for which formal protection was not possible or required, and 565 reports relating to published and granted patents. In 2014/15, the number of published and granted patents has risen to 787.

Intellectual property by year

Creating intellectual property can take a long time and therefore the longer that an award has been running for, the greater number of opportunities there are to create a patentable idea. 12 per cent of awards starting in 2006 reported at least one item of intellectual property, compared to one per cent of awards starting in 2013. Figure 1 shows the distribution of awards by start date and whether they have reported at least one item of intellectual property.

Eight per cent of awards report at least one instance of intellectual property after five years (the time between the start of the award and the intellectual property being reported.), compared to one per cent within one year.

Table 1 and figure 2 shows the time taken to report the first instance of intellectual property. In future analyses we will look to see if this elapsed time is different across the different ‘types’ of intellectual property.

Figure 1: Intellectual Property by award start date

Figure 1: Intellectual Property by award start date

Table 1: Time taken to report the first instance of intellectual property

 

Number reporting at least one IP

Cumulative number

Cumulative percentage

Within 1 year

66

66

1%

Within 2 years

68

134

2%

Within 3 years

55

189

3%

Within 4 years

51

240

4%

After 5 years

200

440

8%

Figure 2: Time taken to report the first instance of intellectual property

Time taken to report the first instance of intellectual property

Intellectual property protection by type

40 per cent of reports were concerning a granted patent. Figure 3 gives a breakdown of the type of intellectual property reported. 

Figure 3: Type of intellectual property protection reported

Figure 3: Type of intellectual property protection reported

Licensing of intellectual property

27 per cent of discoveries overall (227/849) were reported as ‘licensed’ by 2013. The proportion is slightly higher for patented discoveries (31 per cent, 180/579). This is similar to the proportions reported in the last two years, and in our previous report from 2010, we suggested that this seemed reasonable in light of similar data from other organisations.

This calculation does not include the 11 per cent of reports where researchers indicated that details were ‘commercial in confidence’ and could not be provided (93/849); it would be reasonable to assume that some of these cases will translate into new licenses in due course.

The license status of intellectual property in 2013 by the year protection was granted is shown in table 3 and figure 4.

Table 3: License status of intellectual property in 2013 by year of protection

 

Unknown

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Total

Not licensed

30

11

34

74

111

116

60

54

39

529

Licensed by 2013

40

12

26

17

40

35

19

27

11

227

Commercial In confidence

7

4

9

6

13

23

16

13

2

93

Total

77

27

69

97

164

174

95

94

52

849

Figure 4: License status of intellectual property in 2013 by year of protection

Figure 4: License status of intellectual property in 2013 by year of protection