Protecting your intellectual property - EPSRC


Confidentiality and prior disclosure

Potential patent rights

In the UK, potential patent rights will be prejudiced by publication, public announcement, or non-confidential disclosure of a discovery before filing a patent application.

Publication is interpreted broadly, covering anything made publicly available orally; in writing; by use or demonstration; or any other way before protection is sought.

Confidential disclosure to an individual is possible, but must be accompanied by a clear statement that disclosure is on a privileged and confidential basis. Confidentiality must be agreed to be enforced.

Confidential disclosure agreements

When you are discussing a potential project with a company or university, you may want to sign a confidential disclosure of information agreement so that all partners can talk freely about the proposed research.

These agreements are generally short and straightforward.

Confidentiality of our assessment process

EPSRC assesses all the grant applications received through our peer review process.

Generally, proposals are sent to reviewers for comment, and then considered for funding in competition with other proposals at a prioritisation panel.

We treat proposals in confidence, meaning we do not distribute proposals to third parties other than to reach funding decisions, but it does not carry the same weight as a signed confidentiality agreement. We ask reviewers and panel members to treat the proposal in the same way.

What to include in a proposal

Describe the proposed research project in sufficient detail for reviewers to assess the application.

However, we recommend that potentially patentable results are not included in the proposal until after a patent application has been filed.

EPSRC Grants on the Web

Information on all funded grants is publicly available on our website.

For each funded grant, we publish the project title and abstract, participants, length, and value of the grant.

Last updated: 17 August 2021

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