Skip to main content

HE-BCI record 2021/22 - General guidance on Table 4: Intellectual property (IP)

Back to C21032

Version 1.1 Produced 2022-03-04

  1. Table 4 provides more detailed analysis of intellectual property (IP). Income from all IP agreements from all types of IP should be included in Table 4.
  2. Further information on IP can be found at Intellectual Property Office (IPO) website.
  3. Table 4 is designed to collect IP income to the HEP, as a measure of the impact of Higher Education. Only IP income to the HEP should be recorded.
  4. Revenue from IP is an indicator for the value added by the HEP when interacting with a range of external partners. IP may commonly be in the form of licenses granted to private companies allowing them to exploit an invention protected by a patent. While this is a fundamental element of knowledge exchange it should be remembered that patents are only one way of protecting IP.
  5. Intellectual property should include:
    • Patents - Inventions and products, eg machines and machine parts, tools, medicines
    • Copyright - Writing and literary works, art, photography, films, TV, music, web content, sound recordings
    • Design registration - Appearance of a product including, shape, packaging, patterns, colours, decoration
    • Trade marks - Product names, logos, jingles
  6. Income from design interactions and licensing should be recorded. An example would be a chair design produced by the HEP for a furniture manufacturer.
  7. Where the HEP conducts work to meet a specific business need (public or private) which is part of the business model of the external partner the contribution of the HEP should be returned. An example would be 'mood music' by which the HEP asserts copyright rights.
  8. Where the same patent or licence is filed in more than one country, the cumulative total should be entered for the academic year and then all overseas instances entered in the 'overseas sub-total' box. This allows calculation of UK and total international filing.
  9. Head 1: Disclosures and patents filed by or on behalf of the HEP

    Sub-head 1a: Number of disclosures

  10. Disclosure is the point at which academic staff disclose their idea through a formal process with the prospect of seeking protection.
  11. Sub-head 1b: Number of new patent applications filed in year

  12. This should include all patent applications, including Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) applications.
  13. Sub-head 1c: Number of patents granted in year

  14. This should include individual patents and any individual national patents.
  15. Sub-head 1d: Cumulative patent portfolio

  16. This should include the number of individual active and live patents. Active patents are those currently registered under licence to an external party. Live patents are those registered but yet to be licensed.
  17. Sub-head 1e: Number of patents filed by an external party naming the HEP as a co-applicant

  18. This number should be separate and additional to the cumulative number of patents as it reflects only those filed by an external partner. These data are being requested to provide insight where HE has contributed intellectual property that was not previously being captured in a systematic manner.
  19. Patents granted in the name of the company where the HEP is a majority shareholder and the IP originated from within the HEP could be included here if they are named on the patent.
  20. Head 2: Licence numbers (including licencing of patents, copyright, design registration and trade marks)

  21. This Head should include:
    • Licence agreements (non- and exclusive)
    • Assignments (out)
    • Exercised option agreements (on IP already generated - excluding options embedded in research agreements where IP is still to be created)
    • Licences to spin-outs (either royalty or equity bearing)
    • Income-generating Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)
    • All income-generating licences should be returned, regardless of when they were agreed.
  22. This head can include either the total number of license numbers or the total number of licensees.
  23. Income should be provided by partner type (SME, non-SME commercial and non-commercial) for non-software and software only licences.
  24. For purposes of return to HE-BCI, a licence must be a legal agreement between two or more parties and not include open licences. This is to reduce burden and to exclude licences where there is not significant knowledge based interaction.
  25. 2av and 2bv Total number of licenses generating income in the period

  26. The total should be less than or equal to the total number of licenses.
  27. Head 3: IP Income (including patents, copyright, design registration and trade marks)

  28. This Head should include any income from:
    • Upfront/milestone fees
    • Royalties
    • Patents costs reimbursement
  29. received from the licence agreements in Head 2.

  30. Intellectual property (IP) income figures should be provided by partner type (SMEs, Other (non-commercial) businesses and other non-commercial organisations).
  31. Sub-head 3f: Total IP revenues

  32. This total should record the gross income to the HEP, net of VAT, before disbursements to investors and other interested parties. As such this total should differ from that recorded in the Finance record under Income from intellectual property rights.
  33. Sub-head 3g: Total costs

  34. IP expenditure should be reported here. It should include salary and related costs of specialist IP staff, patent and other protection fees and legal expenses.
  35. Example 1:
    Client: SME/Private/Public
    Type of IP: Patents, design registrations, copyright, trademarks.
    Exploitation: Any and all IP exploitation should be considered for HE-BCI
    Return: Income from all IP agreements, from all types of IP should be included.

    Example 2:
    Client: SME
    Type of IP: Patent on new technology
    Exploitation: License to produce product
    Return: The HE-BCI record is designed to collect IP income to the HEP as a measure of the impact of HE. Only income to the HEP should be recorded.

    Example 3:
    Client: Large corporation
    Type of IP: Copyright
    Exploitation: Writing of 'mood music'
    Return: Music written for a specific business need (public or private) is part of the business model of the external partner and therefore the contribution of the HEP should be acknowledged.

    Example 4:
    Client: Furniture manufacturer
    Type of IP: Design registration
    Exploitation: Design of a chair
    Return: Income from design interactions and licensing should be returned in Table 4.

    Head 4: Spin-off activity

  36. Spin-offs are defined as registered companies set-up to exploit IP that has originated from within the HEP. All investment from the HEP and external partners should be included with the exception of public funds to support KE activities, such as the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) in England and its equivalents in the devolved nations should be excluded. Spin-offs with a different financial year to the academic financial year reported in HE-BCI should be returned pro-rata.
  37. Those HEPs which foster active links with their alumni community may find the sourcing and update of information an easier task. There are additional benefits for HEPs that foster such links with start-ups through networking, guest lecture and mentoring opportunities.
  38. Sub-head 4ai/4bi: Spin-offs with some HEP ownership

  39. These are defined as registered companies set-up to exploit IP that has originated from within the HEP, where the HEP continues to have some ownership.
  40. Sub-head 4aii/4bii: Formal spin-offs, not HEP-owned

  41. These are defined as registered companies set-up based on IP that has originated from within the HEP but for which the HEP has released ownership (usually through the sale of shares and/or IP).
  42. When a spinout ceases to be a separate entity and/or its contribution to the activity of a group cannot be distinguished, tracking should cease.
  43. Sub-head 4aiii/4biii: Staff start-ups

  44. These are defined as those registered companies set-up by active or recent (within two years) academic HEP staff but not based on IP from the HEP. The FTE for these staff members should be greater than 0.25.
  45. Sub-head 4aiv/4biv: Student start-ups

  46. Student start-ups can be recorded under this Sub-head. This should include all new businesses started by students currently registered at the reporting HEP or who have exited the reporting HEP with an award within the last two years, regardless of where any IP resides, but only where there has been formal business/enterprise support from the HE provider. Please see ‘DEFINITIONS: HE-BCI for further guidance'.
  47. Start-ups can have any enterprise structure (for example not for profit, partnership or sole trader) and use any business model but there must be some form of registration (for example with HMRC) before they can be included in the record.
  48. We would only expect this to cover graduates registered at and reported by the university. Graduation should be taken to mean the point at which the student graduates from their studies, not completion of the business support programme.
  49. Sub-head 4av/4bv: Social enterprises

  50. While there is no formal definition, a description of Social Enterprise can be found at UnLtd and Social enterprise. Enterprises may have been formed by students, recent graduates and/or staff. It is accepted that turnover and investment figures are - by definition - different from those provided for spin-off and registered start-up companies but the data will be valuable in tracking public contributions from higher education.
  51. It is understood that some such enterprises/ventures may have been returned under Sub-heads 4ai to 4aiv in previous years. While there will be some overlap, it is expected that the majority of data returned under the new category will represent activity that would not have been returned under HE-BCI in previous years.
  52. Unlike the other categories, the broad and informal definition used here includes all legal organisational structures including charities and all business structures. HEPs should report enterprise/ventures which are established to deliver products or services which bring about positive social change i.e. organisations that rate their success on their social outcomes equally or more than their commercial outcomes.
  53. When completing the column sections in Head 4, the sub-heads i - v in the table should meet all of the definitions listed above.
  54. Column 1 (Number)

  55. For number of registered companies, HEPs should return the number of new registered companies for the reporting period under this column.
  56. Column 2 (Number still active which have survived at least 3 years)

  57. Those registered companies which have been active for three years or more should be included under this column.
  58. Column 3 (Number of active firms)

  59. The total number of active firms should be included under this column. This should include the sum of totals entered under ‘Number' and ‘Number still active which have survived at least 3 years' plus those registered companies which have been active for between one and three years.
  60. Columns 4, 5 and 6 (Estimates)

  61. Estimates for staff, turnover and external investment should be included where possible under 'Estimated current employment of all active firms (FTE)','Estimated current turnover of all active firms (£000s)' and 'Estimated external investment received (£000s)', respectively.
  62. 'Estimated external investment received' should include all the investment received from the HEP and external providers during the reporting period but exclude any investment from public schemes designed to support KE.
  63. This is an estimated field. Providing that you have a sound basis for this figure, it does not have to be provided directly by the business. For example, public data from Companies House, published accounts etc. can be used here.
  64. As turnover figures are taken from company accounts then the standard accountancy definition of turnover should be used, i.e. the total of all money that passes through a business each year as a result of the sale of goods and services.

Need help?

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.