The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) - said to be the inspiration behind the department that supplies James Bond's deadly gadgets - is the first UK government organisation to sign up to the Easy Access intellectual property (IP) scheme.

The scheme is aimed at promoting new ways of sharing IP and adopting new approaches, making it easier for Dstl to work with other research organisations and industry, and ensuring new technologies are made available to those best placed to exploit them.

Dstl wants to develop new relationships with industry and academia © iStock/James Brey
Dstl wants to develop new relationships with industry and academia © iStock/James Brey

Dstl is initially making six patent families available under the scheme, which range from protective garments to animal training aids. They are: A protective garment comprising an antenna, a helmet comprising air vents, a rucksack for connecting to electrical devices, a blunt impact head injury model, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (ggt) attenuated Francisella [relates to a mutated Francisella bacterium, where the ggt gene is silenced or deleted], and an animal training system and method.

Easy Access IP originated from Glasgow University, working with King’s College London and the University of Bristol. They recognised that some IP can be difficult to commercialise through traditional ways, either because it is too early stage or presents some uncertainties for a company to risk investment.

Easy Access IP addresses this by offering technologies free of upfront fees or royalties, using quick and simple agreements, to make it easy for companies to access the IP and put it to use.

Professor Jon Cooper, vice principal for knowledge exchange and innovation at the University of Glasgow, said: “We are delighted that Dstl is joining the growing number of research institutes that have chosen to adopt Easy Access IP. We look forward to working with Dstl on this exciting development, further raising the awareness of its structure and role in stimulating innovation.”

Dstl’s head of IP, Graham Farnsworth, said that by offering free access to some of Dstl’s IP, which has a lower technology readiness level, partners can “evaluate and put things to use quickly”. He said: “We hope that this scheme will allow us to develop new relationships with industry and academia, and by releasing appropriate IP in this manner we hope our innovative ideas can be developed, benefiting the economy and society as a whole.”

Interested parties have been invited to find out more from the Dstl and submit a statement of intent for a license, outlining their plan for future development and exploitation.

Dstl said its technology transfer company, Ploughshare Innovations Limited, will continue to commercialise technologies through spin-outs and licensing, focussing on those “of a higher complexity in nature” which require multi-party arrangements or financial investment, as well as those technologies that are “strategic” for Dstl and the Ministry of Defence.