What is valorisation?

Valorisation is making your innovative research accessible to, and usable by, society and/or economy (i.e. societal and economical valorisation, resp.). During this process, it is often crucial to first protect your research through intellectual property (IP) rights. These rights give you a competitive advantage, as others cannot copy and sell your research without your permission.  

At the IVU, together with TechTransfer from UGent, we can advise you on how to protect your research and how to develop an appropriate IP protection strategy.

Some important key messages are:

  • Contact us before your research is made public, whether this is through publications, presentations, meetings… otherwise you cannot protect it anymore!
  • To start the appropriate IP protection strategy, an Invention Disclosure Form (IDF) should be completed and sent to the IP department of TechTransfer UGent.
  • Arrange a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) when you want to receive, provide or exchange information that needs to be kept confidential (e.g. to safeguard patent filing, to keep research confidential, to enter into discussions with an industrial partner…).
  • Use a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) if you want to transfer proprietary material to a third party for research purposes.

IP rights

Intellectual property (IP) is an umbrella term for rights to ideas and creative concepts that have been expressed in tangible form, such as designs, inventions, music, brands, software, games, texts and photos. IP rights are legal rights that provide creators protection for original works, inventions, or the appearance of products, artistic works, scientific developments… There are different types of IP rights, of which some arise automatically, while others must first be registered. An overview is given in the table below.

An important remark is that all the IP rights belong to the institute where you work (i.e. UZ Gent and UGent). This is mentioned in the employment contract. This does, however, not mean that all the benefits go to the institute. For example for a patent, after deduction of the patent filing costs (which are 100% payed by the institute), 50% of the benefits goes to the research group, 25% to the TechTransfer office of the institute and 25% to the inventor.

Legal Right

What for?


How long?



Trade secrets

Valuable information not known to the public

Reasonable efforts to keep secret

Until it is public

If secret, perpetual monopoly

Any subject matter

Less expensive

No formal protection

Reverse engineering

Industrial espionage


Distinctive identification of products or services

Use and/or registration

10 years (can be prolonged for another 10 years)

Not expensive

Long-time protection if re-registered

Easily enforceable (registered)

No protection for underlying methods/ techniques/resources


Original creative or artistic forms

Exists automatically

70 years from death author

Not expensive

Long protection

No protection for technical features


Design of object


5 years (+ 5 years)

Less expensive

No protection for technical features


New inventions

Application and examination

20 years from filing (can be prolonged for another 20 years

Can be broad

20 years

Good trade asset


Technical feature required

Long time procedure

Contact Details

HIRUZ – Innovation & Valorisation Unit

UGent TechTransfer