Introduction for Inventors

For Our Inventors

Intellectual Property Management

Dstl’s mission is to create the winning edge for UK forces and government through the best use of science and technology. As a result, it generates a large body of knowledge and expertise i.e. Intellectual Property (IP). Effectively managing the IP for Dstl is the joint responsibility of the IP Group and Ploughshare Innovations.

To help understand how best to handle new ideas/IP and their potential to be suitable for commercial use, we’ve compiled some FAQ’s that may help. However, don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to discuss any IP related matters directly.

Frequently Asked Questions


When should I talk to the IP Group/Ploughshare?

It’s never too soon really, between us we can provide guidance and support to determine the commercial potential and the necessary protection accordingly.


What’s the difference between the IP Group and Ploughshare?

The Intellectual Property Group‘s role is to provide intellectual property management for Dstl.
Enabling Dstl to have its Intellectual Property suitably protected and managed. Specialists in their respective field combined with their training and experience in IP law allows a thorough understanding of suitable approaches to protect Dstl’s technology.
Ploughshare acts to ensure Dstl’s technology is marketed in the most effective form to achieve the best return on tax payer funded investment in S&T, in addition to its value to the MoD.


What are the differences between patents, trademarks and copyright etc.?

There are various forms of protection for Intellectual Property:
Patents
Patents protect inventions ( new products, processes, uses of known products, compositions)
To obtain a patent, your invention must be:

  • Novel (never before disclosed outside MoD)
  • Inventive (not obvious to a person skilled in the technical field)
  • Capable of industrial application (must have some use in any industry)

Patented inventions cannot be used without the owner’s permission
Copyright
Protects, literary, music and artistic works (includes software, reports, presentations, songs, photographs and graphs).
Exists automatically – once written down or recorded
Copyright material cannot be copied without the owner’s permission
Copyright in Dstl material is owned by the Crown
Dstl can only grant very limited permission to copy Crown Copyright works
Other types of IP
Designs
Protects the shape and outward appearance of objects
Cannot be copied without permission
Trademarks
Used to protect logos, acts as a ‘badge of origin’
Cannot be used in business without permission (but can be used with suitable acknowledgement when describing the product)


It’s only an idea and I’m not sure if I want to start formal patenting processes from the outset or at this stage?

That’s just one of the areas where Ploughshare can help, we are constantly working with industry and by being able to readily determine the potential for new IP we can help determine the extent of the commercial viability and with the IP Group determine what level of protection is needed accordingly.


I have an idea that I think could be commercially valuable, what do I do?

In the first instance we recommend you contact the IP Group.  They have specialists for different sectors of technology who can readily advise on what is the best approach to protect it (i.e. patents, trademarks etc.).


Will it prevent me from publishing?

No, for any unclassified material publishing and wider (external) peer review can still be accomplished but the IP must be suitably protected first.