Intellectual Property Policy

Applicable to: WA health system entities, as defined in this Policy.

Description: Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the human intellect, the rights to which are protectable by law, and that can have financial value.  

IP is recognised as an intangible asset which can potentially be exploited for economic benefit. As such it aligns with the WA Health Financial Management Manual definition of an Asset as being a resource controlled by a WA health entity, from which future economic benefits are expected to flow to the health entity. Future economic benefits can be in the form of cash, cash equivalents or the potential to provide goods and services to achieve the health entities’ objectives.

The purpose of the Intellectual Property Policy is to specify processes that must be followed for the management of IP by WA health system entities in order to facilitate compliance with: 

i. the Western Australian Government Intellectual Property Policy 2015, which requires that IP created with government resources is identified, captured, suitably protected, responsibly managed and transparently disposed of. This includes optimising the economic, social or environmental benefits for the State from the use and commercialisation of IP

ii. sections 13(2)(d) and 36(3)(f) of the Health Services Act 2016, which state that the Minister, and the Health Service Providers, may develop and turn to account any technology, software or other intellectual property that relates to their functions and, for that purpose, apply for, hold, exploit and dispose of any patent, patent rights, copyright or similar rights

iii. Chapter 7: Asset Management, of the WA Health Financial Management Manual.  Section 701 of this manual refers to intangible assets, which would include IP with commercial potential. It requires that all WA Health officers are to ensure that the policy and its procedures relevant to this section are complied with, and will be held accountable for any non-compliance.

This Policy is also consistent with Strategy 8, Recommendation 28, of the 2019 Final Report of the Sustainable Health Review, which recommends the establishment of a WA health system central unit to provide advice and guidance on innovation such as intellectual property, legal, marketing and commercialisation protocols; and facilitate sharing and connecting of innovative work across the health system.

This Policy is a mandatory requirement under the Research Policy Framework, pursuant to section 26(2)(l) of the Health Services Act 2016.

This Policy is a mandatory requirement for the Department of Health pursuant to section 29 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994.

This Policy supersedes IC 0228/15 Intellectual Property Management in WA Health.

Date of effect: 15 April 2021

Policy Framework

Supporting information