Developing and Protecting Intellectual Property

Table of Contents:

An often-neglected question asked at the beginning of an IVR project is: “What are the intellectual property issues for scholarly contemplation concerning their intervention and the intellectual property of their research participants emanating from the IVR project?” This question is often difficult to answer, because sometimes at the beginning of any research project, you may not be aware of any potential intellectual property (IP). After all, the discovery is still undiscovered. As Serenko and Dumay (2017, p. 330) outline, serendipity plays a major role in the academic research process “especially from the perspective of discovering new and interesting phenomena”. From an IVR perspective, this could be very important because you will often be working with companies or organisations who profit from solving the problem you are solving. Therefore, under the right circumstances, you could discover and even later commercialise valuable intellectual property. Thus, you, your university, and the organisation (social system) would have an interest in understanding what that IP was and who owns the rights to the IP.

In Phase 1 of the IRF, you need to plan how to manage any IP issues that come up as part of your research protocol in conjunction with your university and research site. The main question is, how do you consider the

IP and assess who may have rights to it? You also need to make sure that the organisation that you are working with is aware that you will be using the information you gather to develop and disseminate conference papers, academic articles, and even external dissemination to other managers and accounting professionals. There would be nothing worse than reaching the end of an IVR project and not having your research participants be aware of these outputs and then try to prevent you from having it, especially academic articles published because they do not want to see their competitors being made aware of commercially sensitive information.

Your university, as does ours, will probably have a division within its research administration function that looks after intellectual property and commercialisation issues. In our university, we have the Office of Commercialisation and Innovation which helps identify, evaluate, and commercialise the university’s IP. Fortunately, they offer excellent advice on how your research might develop IP. We have reproduced a document called the “Impact Canvas”, published by the Macquarie University Office of Commercialisation and Innovation, which consists of a guideline and form that you can use as a checklist to develop an idea of how IP impacts your IVR project in Appendix 1 to this chapter. Our university has created this form and released it with a Creative Commons license so that you can use it and distribute it to your colleagues freely. We highly recommend you undertake this process in conjunction with your university and its IP and commercialisation administrators. By making sure that IP is taken care of from the onset of the IVR project, it can potentially save you a lot of time and frustration at the end. It is also advisable to update the research protocol document and the checklist as the project moves through its phases up until the last phase of dissemination, because if the IP issues are not taken care of, dissemination may be impossible or fraught with problems.

In Summation

To finalise this chapter, we want to reiterate that ethical, budgetary, and intellectual property matters are essential, but often overlooked, elements of your IVR project. Ethical considerations are very important and if not completed correctly, can jeopardise the outcomes, especially in the dissemination phase. Having an appropriate budget will allow you to complete the research on time with adequate resources. Last, by making sure you consider IP issues and deal with them at the beginning of the IVR project, you will prevent any arguments and potential legal issues. Most importantly, making sure that ethical, budgetary, and intellectual property matters are part of your research protocol and plan is essential.


Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board (APES). (2018). APES 110 code of ethics for professional accountants (including independence standards).

Retrieved from: 23072019020747_APES_l 10_Restructured_Code_Nov_2018 .pdf

Bruhn, J.G. & Rebach, H.M. (2007). Sociological practice: Intervention and social change. New York, NY: Springer Science.

Gitlin, L.N. Sc Czaja, SJ. (2016). Behaviourial intervention research: Designing, evaluating, and implementing. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company LLC.

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). (2018). National statement on ethical conduct in human research. Retrieved from: www.nhmrc.

O’Mathiina, D.P. (2012). Ethical considerations in designing intervention studies. In B.M. Melnyk Sc D. Morrison_Beedy (Eds.), Intervention research: Design, conduction, analyzing and funding (pp. 75-89). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Serenko, A. Sc Dumay, J. (2017). Citation classics published in knowledge management journals: Part III: Author survey. Journal of Knowledge Management, 21(2), 330-354. doi:10.1108/JKM-07-2016-0300

Appendix 1

“Impact Canvas”, Macquarie University Office of Commercialisation and Innovation

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