About the Framework

The Framework has been designed to assist businesses when working with universities to access research expertise and intellectual property (IP).

On this page:

What are the aims of the Framework?

  • To support and facilitate the initiation, development, and sustainability of commercialisation connections between universities and businesses.
  • To reduce the legal complexity of universities and industry working together by providing information, guidance, and agreement templates to help parties reach agreements.

What does the Framework provide?

1. Information

The Framework helps you understand more about intellectual property in university-industry collaborative research.

It also helps universities and businesses understand each other’s positions and reach agreement more quickly and at lower cost.

2. Template agreements

The HERC IP Framework provides standardised agreement templates to help businesses and universities navigate the legal complexities of working together.

There are two types of agreements:

  • Accelerated agreements for lower-risk transactions which can help speed up transactions. Accelerated agreements have less flexibility and more standardisation but can still be amended by both parties.
  • Standard agreements that have more flexibility to negotiate and are designed to be used as a starting point for complex, higher-risk transactions.

3. Plain English guidance documents

The Framework includes simple language versions of each agreement to help you understand key legal terms and clauses as well as your obligations under the agreements.

4. Practical Guide

The Practical Guide helps businesses and universities understand situations where the Framework is useful. It also provides guidance on when (and when not) to use each agreement type, and information on the key considerations when negotiating and finalising template agreements

Important information about the Framework’s template agreements

Framework agreements are government-endorsed and have been drafted through extensive consultation with Public Funded Research Agencies, Commonwealth Agencies, universities, and commercial companies. They aim to provide for a fair position for both parties.

Features of the Framework’s template agreements

  1. Applicable: Use of the agreements is voluntary. The agreements can be applicable to all universities and public sector research organisations as well as Commonwealth entities and companies
  2. Balanced: The agreements balance the needs of both parties (research organisation and industry partner) with respect to the protection of confidential information and the protection, management and use of intellectual property (IP) that each party already owns or controls (pre-existing IP). Intellectual Property (IP) generated during the project (project IP) is owned by the party who creates it and who is best placed to manage the IP. In most cases this will be the research organisation performing the work. The exception is for the provision of technical (consulting) services where the party requesting the services would be expected to own the outputs. The parties can select templates that will give them the rights they need to be able to use project IP for their future research activities. This also includes flexible rights to pre-existing IP that may be required to use the project IP. The templates help to guide the parties to a position that is balanced, so that companies and investors have a clear route to market, and research organisations can continue their academic research. This enables a fair reward to be agreed for each party’s contributions.
  3. Fair: The agreements provide a balanced position for both parties in relation to warranties and liabilities, which can be significant points of negotiation. Parties should consider the risks of the transaction to ensure they are appropriate to the template position.
  4. Flexible: Templates are provided in two tracks, suitable for different projects and scenarios:
    1. Accelerated track – Fixed agreement templates for lower risk transactions. Fixed agreements have less flexibility, and more standardisation. They can be used with minimal negotiation.
    2. Standard track – Standard agreement templates for more complex (including multi-party), higher risk projects. These have more flexibility to negotiate and can be used as a starting point for negotiation.

The Framework recognises there will be projects where use of the template agreements is not appropriate. In these situations, parties should continue to seek independent legal advice and adopt their own agreements.

More information and guidance

Read the Practical Guide