City University of Hong Kong has initiated a process of integrating a Discovery-enriched Curriculum (DEC) across the campus programs. An important goal of this curriculum is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to “discover” and create new knowledge. Many new discoveries involve issues related to what is called Intellectual Property (IP). Therefore, it is important for you to
You may have some ideas or work that may be of commercial or social value. It is our strong desire that you can make your own discovery and innovation during the course of your study at CityU. To that end, we are glad to work with you to protect any intellectual property that you may have created at CityU.
Intellectual Property refers to the third kind of property, comparable to real property (e.g. house, land) and personal property (e.g. money, securities). IP is an intangible property residing human mind, i.e. “intellectual”. Given its value in current business and economic systems, the law assigns ownership rights, ie. IP rights, and provides means to protect IP rights. IP rights are commonly identified in several types, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, circuit layout designs, registered designs and trade secrets. Patents, trademarks and registered designs are all registrable, providing that certain requirements are fulfilled. Copyright, circuit layout design and trade secrets exist through statute and are granted autonomously.
If you have IP that you, working alone or with others, have created, developed or reduced to practice, please contact us. We also encourage you to purse collaborative and commercial opportunities as you feel appropriate. We will assist you in any way we can.
The generators of creative works may hold certain rights to Intellectual Property, known as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). These rights recognize ownership of IP. The establishment of Intellectual Property Rights is important because it ensures that the generators of new and creative works get recognized for their efforts and inventions. In this way it supports further innovation and creativity. The following is a website that lays out the laws that govern IP in Hong Kong: http://www.ipd.gov.hk/eng/home.htm. In general, there are 5 types of IP most relevant to you as student at CityU:
Disclosure means you make your ideas, discovery or innovation publicly known. For example, you may describe your ideas in your blogs or your facebook. You may publish your discovery in journal. Public disclosure of your discoveries and innovation will make you lose your right to file patent or to register your design. If you generate any type of IP, you can use the Disclosure Form for Student’s Discovery & Innovation to inform the University of the IP. The University will explain to you the issue of ownership in respect of all types of IP according to the University Policy on Intellectual Property.
Students and the university are sometimes considered the joint creators of IP and joint owners of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and thus jointly share in any commercial benefits. This recognizes the joint efforts of groups of students, faculty, and university resources that are put together to create something new. Determination of ownership is described in the University Policy on Intellectual Property.
Under the University Intellectual Property Policy, in general you own the IP you generated, such as the copyrights of dissertations, theses, films, computer programs and research papers, patents, registered designs and trade secrets created in the course of or for the purposes of their studies at the University. As the generator/creator of the IP, you will always be deemed the inventor of the IP. There are however exceptions. If students receive financial support from the University in the form of wages or studentships, or use of University resources and intensive supervision from University faculties, then the intellectual property will be owned by the University. In this case, students are entitled to income sharing like the University staff. For details, please refer to clause 10.8.1b in the University Intellectual Property Policy.
For postgraduate/research students, any IP generated is seen as the result of interaction between the postgraduate/research student and the University's academic staff, and, therefore, jointly developed. In cases where the work is commercially viable, the University will seek to obtain IP protection (such as a patent or registered design). In such circumstances, the student will be deemed as University staff in respect of the Intellectual Property ownership and will be entitled to the same benefits of remuneration as University staff.
In your study at City University of Hong Kong you may be part of a process that involves the creation of Intellectual Property, or the use of IP owned by others, so it is important for you to understand something about it.
Generally speaking, computer programs and mobile apps are excluded from patentability. However, there are a number of granted patents related to computer programs, e.g. LZW (a lossless data compression algorithm), progress bar, Amazon’s “One-Click” patent. The question is why these software tools, or more precisely computer-implemented inventions, can be protected by patents. The answer is that modern living relies heavily on computer-implemented inventions, from mobile phones to household appliances, from medical instruments to airplane navigation systems, and from private cars to video recorders. Computer-implemented inventions can enhance their functionality and efficiency and thus increase their competitiveness.
To patent your computer programs, you need to be aware of a few points. First of all, your computer programs may implement your ideas or algorithm to solve some technical problems. If the ideas behind the computer programs or algorithms implemented in the computer programs comprise technical features/characters that provide technical solutions to problems, then the computer programs contain computer-implemented inventions which could be patentable subject matters. Therefore, you have to identify the computer-implemented invention(s) of your computer program which fulfill(s) the requirements of patentability, i.e. novelty, non-obviousness, usefulness, and being patentable subject matter.