Intellectual property

Guiding principles for industry, staff, students and alumni.

Intellectual property created through Swinburne’s Innovation Precinct is bound by the following guiding principles on ownership, use, commercialisation and copyright.


Generally, intellectual property generated from industry-funded research (for example, the project IP) is fully owned by the relevant industry partner when the relevant industry partner pays for the full cost of the research, including salaries and benefits of the researchers and any consumables or equipment costs.

Where there is pre-existing background intellectual property, access to this should be negotiated prior to the commencement of work. In the case where both Swinburne and the industry partner jointly fund the project, both parties will jointly own all intellectual property generated from the project. However, it is standard practice to provide the industry partner with the commercialisation rights, subject to the industry partner paying an appropriate royalty fee to Swinburne.

Students and alumni

Undergraduate students and alumni invariably own the intellectual property (“IP”) created by them. For research students, from 2018, it is expected they assign their IP to Swinburne at the onset of their candidature (with the notable exception of the copyright in their thesis).

IP developed by students usually has input from their supervisor or relevant collaborator, and it’s important this is taken into consideration. Originators of IP will share in any net returns according to Swinburne’s Intellectual Property Regulations 2017.

Staff (research and professional)

Swinburne owns all intellectual property that has been generated by a staff member’s work that is considered an expected output of their employment at the university. However, Swinburne has a generous revenue sharing policy should there be any future benefits (income) with staff members whose IP contributes to a profitable commercial outcome. To support staff through the intellectual property process, Swinburne assists with filing patents, business development and providing legal support.

If you believe that the product or service concept you are developing is outside of the scope of your employment contract, it’s recommended you apply for a waiver to ensure you have complete freedom to operate. Please note, sessional staff are generally excluded from this definition as they are not (usually) employed to develop and exploit their research.

Contact the Innovation Precinct

Discuss with us collaboration, investment, learning or mentorship opportunities.

Call +61 3 9214 3700