CRDC Intellectual Property (IP) Policy

CRDC’s IP management policy aims to facilitate the efficient and effective development and adoption of RD&E results to achieve maximum benefits to the cotton industry. CRDC assesses IP ownership, the commercial benefits and possible commercialisation strategies on a case by case basis, subject to its core aim of delivering maximum benefit to the cotton industry.

Project-level IP register

An IP register is established for each project application. It is vital that all Background IP brought into a project and proposed outcomes are clearly set out.

Any new IP developed as a result of a project (Project IP) must also be reported to CRDC. In most cases the research outcomes from CRDC investment result in technical knowledge rather than the creation of new technologies that require specific IP protection and commercialisation. To this end, an adoption pathway based on grower engagement and presentation of outcomes in a 'grower ready' form is paramount.

In a small number of cases where projects do have significant, identifiable Background IP and potential Project IP, a more detailed analysis, valuation and risk assessment will be conducted by CRDC and an IP position negotiated with the research provider(s). 

CRDC’s seven guiding principles for IP management

1. IP Management is integral to RD&E investment decisions:

  • CRDC will seek to manage the IP identified in research projects in such a way as to maximise the benefit to the cotton industry, which will include an assessment of the proposed adoption pathway for each relevant project.

2. IP Management is a means to an end, not an end in itself:

  • IP management is the process used to identify and establish rights in IP, appropriately protecting the IP and thereafter to optimise the benefits from IP through exploitation.
  • CRDC will adopt a flexible and adaptable approach to IP Management and IP Ownership, including seeking novel models of co-ownership where industry benefit is maximised.

3. IP Management facilitates decision-making on pathways for impact:

  • CRDC’s research procurement process will require an adoption pathway proposal.
  • CRDC requires a Technology Adoption Plan to manage the impact of Project IP or Scholarship IP and to assess the benefits of disseminating IP through a public domain, Australian cotton industry domain, by commercialisation or through further research.

4. IP ownership and use rights must be carefully considered:

  • Clear chain of title is important for any commercial activities
  • Ownership and use of IP has inherent rights and obligations, including the IP owner’s right to secure and benefit from the IP.
  • CRDC will ensure appropriate procedures are in place to safeguard the copyright and confidentiality of another party’s IP.
  • Research providers may be required to demonstrate that they have appropriate IP policies and procedures in place to help protect CRDC IP.
  • CRDC reserves the right to request assignment of copyright in works created in the course of CRDC-supported research.
  • CRDC may reserve a right of first refusal to purchase another party’s share of any IP rights that arise from a CRDC-supported project.

5. “Freedom to operate” can minimise barriers to commercialisation and RD&E investment:

  • CRDC may request that permission to use third party IP and/or background IP rights is secured.
  • CRDC may request that a research organisation helps in ensuring that research outcomes do not infringe the rights of others.

6. “Rights to publish” is part of a broader IP management strategy:

  • CRDC acknowledges that public research organisations may require information from RD&E investments to be published as part of their purpose or to allow students to complete their thesis.
  • CRDC will ensure appropriate procedures are in place to manage IP owner’s rights and confidential information when assessing publications.

7. IP Risk Management Strategies are essential to protect IP rights and benefits:

  • Each organisation responsible for the generation and management of IP should develop and implement IP risk management strategies.
  • Effective IP risk management should strike an appropriate balance between the merits and risks of protecting and granting access rights to IP.
  • CRDC will apply appropriate risk management assessment to IP management.

Adoption Pathway Proposal

Maximising the benefits from research comes not only through the creation of innovative technology and knowledge but also through careful consideration and planning of how research outcomes will be communicated and adopted. In the context of IP, every research provider is obligated to provide a draft proposal (an Adoption Pathway Proposal) for the exploitation of any IP generated by a project. The Adoption Pathway Proposal must also contain a proposed exploitation plan, which describes the research provider’s proposal for the exploitation of any project technology generated.

Third Party IP Guidelines

Any Third Party IP (TPIP) used or licenced by the research provider must be used in a manner which is consistent with CRDC's objectives, namely to develop IP for use and benefit of the Australian cotton industry.  This can include, for example, using material obtained from a third party that has been provided to the research provider with restrictions regarding its use, such as those set out in a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA).

Where a project application involves use of TPIP or material governed by an MTA, the research provider must disclose the following information to CRDC in relation to the proposed use of that TPIP and/or material:

  • whether the proposal involves the use of TPIP;
  • if so, what restrictions relate to the use of the TPIP;
  • detailed description of the use of TPIP within the Adoption Pathway Proposal (including the proposed exploitation plan) for any project technology IP.

Where no agreement for use of TPIP has been established prior to the project application being made to CRDC, CRDC should be contacted prior to the application being made.

For more information, please refer to the CRDC Researchers' Handbook.