Intellectual property—who really owns it?

Extensive acute and community health services at Vancouver Coastal Health offer rich environments for staff to research new ideas, products and services that have the potential to benefit society. These new inventions and creations are known as intellectual property, or IP.

VCH’s IP policy

VCH’s IP policy has been in force since 2015 and applies to all VCH staff, physicians and researchers. The purpose of the policy is to:

  • Recognize the contributions of VCH, staff and other parties in the creation of IP;
  • Ensure that created IP is commercialized by the appropriate party; and
  • Ensure that the benefits of any commercialized IP are shared fairly between all relevant parties.

What do I need to know about the IP policy?

Here are some key things about IP that VCH staff, researchers and other contributors to the creation of IP need to know:

  • If IP was created using VCH facilities, resources or funding, IP must be disclosed to the VP Research within 30 days of being created. Ownership rights will then be assessed based on the information received.
  • IP details must also be provided to the VP Research prior to publication, to ensure appropriate protection of IP before public disclosure.
  • When the IP creator is affiliated with a university, third party or other health authority that already has an existing IP policy, IP ownership will be governed by that institution’s affiliation agreements with VCH and that institution’s policy.


If you have questions about the IP policy or how to protect your IP, visit the VCH Research Institute’s Intellectual Property website for more information and links to the policy, IP disclosure form and university contact details.

The policy, form and contact information are also available on VCH Connect.

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