Chiasma IP/Funding – Frequently Asked Questions

So how does a chiasma work?
A chiasma is about creating new ideas within the timeframe of the workshop, i.e. generating new ideas in collaboration with others in an intensive residential environment, between 2-3 days.
I already have an idea I’d like to exploit.
That’s great, but the focus of a chiasma is on new ideas and how chiasma participants can commercialise them. If you have a pre-existing idea or work that you’d like to incorporate into a chiasma, this falls under background Intellectual Property (IP).
Ok. But I’d still like to bring my existing work into the chiasma.
If you intend to do this you must let us know at least 14 days before the chiasma. We’ll then make a decision (in accordance with our legal terms/team) and once confirmed, your background IP will be exempt from any Design in Action licensing and commercialisation.
Right. So, let’s assume I take part in a chiasma and come up with an idea in my team. Who owns it?
Design in Action holds the IP for all ideas emerging from a chiasma, so that we encourage the ideas to be taken up and used, even if the teams who pitched them in the chiasma don't want to work on them. Design in Action is led from University of Dundee, and therefore it is the university who officially holds the IP. We think of it as a ‘shelter’ for the IP until participants get to market. Given that many of our participants are micro-SMEs the legal clout of a major university is extra security to help ensure the ideas are protected from any predators.
Hold on, so even if the rest of my chiasma team don’t want to work on the idea any further, I can apply for funding to take it forward?
Exactly. If you took part in the chiasma, then you can still apply for funding to take the idea forward. You can even include people who weren’t part of the chiasma in your funding application.
But I already told you – the rest of my team aren’t interested in the idea – it’s just me. Do I get the IP now?
Design in Action has mostly awarded funding and licensed IP to teams a lead industry partner in the team, simply because, in our experience, that’s the best way of getting the idea to market. If there is no industry partner in your team, or if the industry partner isn’t interested in the idea, then funding and IP can still be applied for by other members of the team.
My team's chiasma idea was good, but I'd really rather develop the idea another team presented.
Go for it! We want the ideas to become commercially viable, so if members of the original team don’t want to take their idea forward other participants are then free to apply instead. We'll select the funding application we feel is most likely to succeed.
I’d like to take an idea forward. I’ve taken part in the chiasma and been unsuccessful in DiA funding, but I still want to work on it. What about IP now?
DiA still hold the IP, but providing that the idea hasn't already been licensed/assigned to someone else from the chiasma, we're open to having discussions about releasing the IP so that the commercial potential can be realised.
I’d like to take the idea forward. I’ve taken part in the chiasma and been awarded funding. What about IP now?
Any benefits from commercialising the idea will stay within the team you listed in the successful funding application and who have subsequently been granted an IP licence by Design in Action. Once the prototyping phase has been completed discussions can then take place for a commercial licence/assignment.
A licence? Will the IP belong to the team in perpetuity, or is it on loan?
Depending on what fits best to allow the team to take the project forward and provide the best opportunity for commercial success the IP can be licensed or assigned, DiA are able to accommodate the preferred route.
My idea has been licensed by DiA, and we’re now starting to make money. Does DiA take a cut?
Congratulations! In agreeing and signing an IP licence you’ll have agreed a 10% royalty stake with DiA.
Ok, so is there an equity option for assignment? Is any of this negotiable?
Yes. We are open to discussion about the equity and royalty stake.
What does DiA do with this income?
Design in Action is a non-profit organisation. Any monies go towards replenishing the funding of future support for businesses and ideas so that we can continue to support the Scottish economy.
Why haven't you adopted an open-source or open-innovation approach?
The collaborative nature of the teams, our focus on near to market products and our aim of compressing the innovation cycle have led us to develop this model. We know that the model will not be attractive to everyone but we believe it to be a unique intervention that meets important needs in the Scottish economy. So if it’s not for you we hope that you find some of the other fantastic projects out there that are working in open-source and open-innovation.
Enough of this conversation, where’s the legalese?
You can find the specific IP related text within the terms of engagement as part of every chiasma call we put out.