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Research, knowledge transfer and digital innovation in higher education

Higher education building

From groundbreaking academic research and innovative incubator and accelerator programmes, to trademark, copyright and patent portfolios, a university’s intellectual property is one of its most important commercial assets. As a key market differentiator, it is critical that higher education institutions (HEIs) can identify, capture, license, monetise and protect their intellectual property and wider higher education innovation efforts.

With extensive experience and expertise in advising both universities and corporates looking to collaborate with the higher education sector, our lawyers have a unique insight into the challenges involved with the world of research and innovation in higher education – and the needs and aspirations of our higher education (HE) clients.

Our extensive international expertise, supported by our membership of Pangea Net – a trusted network of independent law firms spanning 28 jurisdictions – enables us to provide you with the necessary strategic higher education intellectual property (IP) and operational guidance you need to operate successfully in both developed and emerging economies.

What we offer

  • Capturing and protecting your higher education IP assets and ensuring they remain protected.
  • Exploiting higher education intellectual property, drafting and negotiating agreements on all aspects of IP use and exploitation.
  • Dispute resolution, helping you to enforce your IP rights.
  • Supporting the development of commercial ventures from incubator and accelerator hubs to university spinouts.
  • Conducting comprehensive higher education IP audits.
  • Drafting and negotiating research & development (R&D) agreements.
  • Advising on international collaborations and joint ventures.

Why choose Browne Jacobson intellectual property solicitors?

Our higher education intellectual property team is ranked as the “go-to firm for heavyweight IP matters”. For more information about our intellectual property legal services in the sector and where digital innovation in higher education impacts your establishment, please contact Selina Hinchliffe.


Focus on...

How to commercialise your IP: licensing, spin outs and JVs

Our expert panel, comprised of IP and corporate law specialists, discuss IP commercialisation strategies, their benefits and pitfalls, drawing on experience across the private, public and higher education sectors.

Recent experience

  • Advising a university on its joint venture and trading entity structures for exploitation of its IP including charity and tax law support in conjunction with IP

  • Advising a university with multiple collaborators on the testing phases and route to market involving patentable technology capable of cutting diesel engine missions in line with government targets and timelines

  • Advising HEIs on the legal issues affecting IP ownership in Germany, China and the United States

  • Advising a HEI on the manufacturing and development of technology in China

What the directories say...



A client says: "They are my legal partner of choice for commercial and intellectual property matters," adding: "I have found them to be open, flexible and creative."

Chambers 2020


"The team is reliable and extremely responsive," remarks one client, who adds: "They are the best in the business and their reputation is well deserved."

Chambers 2020

Focus on...

Legal updates

be connected newsletter for higher education - July 2021

In this edition we provide you with the latest in legal updates, news and insight from the higher education sector.

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Legal updates

Lifting of restrictions - what this means for employers in the higher education sector

19 July 2021 marked the lifting of many restrictions within England including the cessation of the need for social distancing, the removal of the legal requirement for face masks, and the end of required homeworking. We look at the guidance on the lifting of restrictions in the context of staff working in the higher education sector.

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Legal updates

Charities Bill – Responding to the Law Commission report ‘Technical Issues in Charity Law’

We discuss some points of particular relevance to Higher Education Intuitions (HEIs) in the recent Charities Bill.

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Legal updates

The role of the SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities & the Arts for People and the Economy) subjects in knowledge exchange

Following publication of the first iteration of Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) results in Spring 2021, the British Academy released its report ‘Knowledge Exchange in the SHAPE disciplines’ (the Report) in June 2021 which presented a diverse range of case studies showing that knowledge exchange in SHAPE disciplines yields significant social, economic and cultural benefits.

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