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When is the next Awards Ceremony?

Medical Futures runs Awards in different medical therapy areas throughout the year. If you would like to be contacted when the next set of Awards are announced please click here

Who can enter the Medical Futures Innovation Awards?

Anyone involved in the healthcare industry is eligible to enter, whether employed in a healthcare organisation, the academic sector, private sector or in a joint venture. You can be an individual, a team or an established business, whatever you are, our esteemed Judges welcome entries from all backgrounds and at all stages in the development cycle, from just an idea to a fully implemented business.

Do I lose my intellectual property rights as a result of entering?

No. By entering the competition you will not affect rightful ownership of your intellectual property.

The Medical Futures Innovation Awards simply acts as a conduit to help introduce you to people and organisations that can help facilitate you or your organisation's idea. Your idea will not be passed onto the Judges if we believe that your intellectual property protection is an issue.

Equally we only request a short summary of your idea and we ask that you do not disclose too much information until such a stage that you have taken appropriate steps to protect your intellectual property.

If I am an employee of a hospital or University, who owns an idea I come up with?

Clearly the first owner of any invention is the inventor. For an "independent inventor" that settles the matter. However, many people invent things while in employment, this is common within the University or healthcare workplace and under the laws of most countries employees' rights will belong to their employer, if they are employed to invent. Generally speaking, if you are employed in a position where inventions can well occur and you are employed to contribute in that way, an invention relevant to the field of your employment will be owned by the employer automatically. On the other hand, if you are employed in one area and invent something in a totally different technical area, it will normally be yours, particularly if you are not employed in a position where inventions are expected.

Although the employer can claim ownership of the IP, in most Universities and increasingly in hospital there is provision for the inventor to benefit financially if the invention is commercially successful.

The simplest method of doing this is to use a "constant ratio of sharing" where net income is shared in a set ratio between the parties involved i.e. inventor, department and institution. Net income refers to the income after patenting and other costs are recovered. In the case of disputes legal advice should be sought.

Medical Futures works closely with the various stakeholders in this space and regularly runs events to help innovators navigate through this complex environment.

How are you ensuring that my idea does not get into the public domain?

Although we take very seriously the issue of personal information and are registered with the data protection act, and use secure servers, in the environment of the World Wide Web, where youngsters have successfully penetrated the Pentagon’s computers, clearly it is not possible to be completely secure. Therefore we advise all innovators to be cautious about the information they disclose to us and we urge you to seek independent legal advice on how best to protect your intellectual property from the outset.

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