Skip to content
left end
left end
right end

Intellectual Property (IP)

Intellectual Property (IP) is the novel or previously undescribed tangible output of any innovative activity. It has an owner; it can be bought, sold or licensed and must be adequately protected. In the context of the NHS, Intellectual Property can result from new or improving modifications to medical devices of all types, learning packages (software, data, written work), designs and images, and even new processes for patient care.

Intellectual Property is any form of original creation that can be bought or sold - from music to machinery. The four main types are:

  • patents
  • trademarks
  • designs
  • copyright

Intellectual Property is managed through our IP Policy and Department of Health guidance, The NHS as an Innovative Organisation. Please get in touch with the Research & Innovation team, if you want to discuss how the IP Policy applies to your particular situation.

 Type  Protection  Examples  How it is Protected
 Inventions  Patents  New medical devices, software systems  UK Intellectual Property Office Registration
 Literary Works  Copyright  Computer software, patient 
 leaflets, journal
 Automatic, but ownership made clear by adding © University Hospitals Bristol
 NHS Foundation Trust 20XX
 Designs and Drawings  Design Rights  Appearance of a new device  UK Intellectual Property Office Registration
 Brand Names  Trade Marks  Trust Logo  UK Intellectual Property Office Registration
 Trade Secrets  Know-How  Surgical Techniques  Keeping it secret and Confidentiality Agreements