Intellectual Property (IP)

Intellectual property (IP) management helps to protect creations of the mind. Below are some common types of intellectual property that you may encounter on your commercialisation journey:


A patent provides legal protection to stop others from using your invention. Patent applications are limited to the country where they are filed. They require you to describe your invention which must be novel, involve an inventive step, and not be published before filing your patent application.

Design Registrations

Registering a design protects the visual appearance of an object to help stop others within a particular country from copying your design. To register a design, it must have new or original features and must not be published before filing your registration.

Plant Variety Rights

Plant variety rights gives the owner of a particular plant variety the exclusive right to produce and sell it.


Trademarks are used to identify you or your organisations' products and/or services in the market place. This can include logos, words, shapes, sounds, colours, and more. Registering a trademark provides protection within that country to stop others using them to promote their goods and/or services, and to prevent misrepresentation of your product and/or service in the marketplace.

Trade secrets

A trade secret - or 'know how' - refers to confidential information such as the methods and processes that you or your organisation uses. Trade secrets protect you as long as you can keep the information a secret. At minimum this can involve requiring confidentiality agreements with individuals who have access to your secret information.


Copyright is applied automatically to an original work that is expressed in a material form. This could include a website, software, publication, performance, or artistic creation.


For useful resources about intellectual property, visit the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office Website


Intellectual Property at Massey University

Having a strong intellectual property position is important for protecting your ideas and attracting partners or investors.  


Intellectual Property for Staff

When a staff member generates new intellectual property in their role as an employee then the intellectual property rights are owned by the University. If the intellectual property shows commercial potential, the Massey Ventures team will work with the creators to protect and commercialise the intellectual property. The University offer several benefits for staff that choose to work with us and commercialise their ideas.

Allocation of net revenue at Massey University and Massey Ventures

Staff inventors receive approximately 33% of the net revenue over the life of the project. Other benefits include:


  • Patents
  • Industry Partnerships
  • PBRF


  • Research Funding
  • Share of net benefits over the life of the commercialisation
  • Shareholding in spin out companies

If the University decides they no longer wish to commercialise the intellectual property then the staff member can negotiate to have the intellectual property rights be transferred to them.

In situations where other individuals or organisations provide support or funding, alternative arrangements may be negotiated to reflect the contributions of each party.



Intellectual Property for Students

It is Massey Ventures' position that any intellectual property that is solely generated by students remains the property of that student. However, if the student wishes, they can still access funding and support from Massey Ventures on a case by case basis.

If you are a student with a great idea, get in touch with us to find out how we can support you.


New Intellectual Property 

Protecting intellectual property is a key step in your commercialisation journey. We are always on the look-out for new innovations and opportunities. If you or your team are working on research that solves a problem or has commercial potential, then we want to hear from you. The first step is to submit a confidential invention disclosure, or get in touch with our team.

Submit a Confidential Invention Disclosure

Submit a Confidential Invention Disclosure

Click here to submit a new confidential invention disclosure.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Click here to get in touch with the team at Massey Ventures


Frequently Asked Questions

Who covers the cost of protecting intellectual property?

The cost of protecting intellectual property can be significant. Massey Ventures and the university's commercialisation office have funding available to cover these costs.


Can I still Publish My Research?

There is often concern expressed that protection of intellectual property and publishing research are incompatible. This is not our experience and we can point to many examples where staff have been able to achieve both outcomes very successfully with some careful planning. If you are unsure, you should get in touch with the Massey Ventures team BEFORE you publish.