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Intellectual property

Any tangible personal property that is created through the intellectual efforts of its creator or creators is termed intellectual property (IP). As a research student it is essential that you have a clear undserstanding of issues related to respecting and protecting intellectual property.

Methods for protecting and exploiting IP include patents, copyright, trade marks, design, plant breeder's rights, trade secrets and circuit layout rights. The most common form of IP affecting postgraduate students is copyright.


Copyright relates to the rights to ownership and reproduction of the original expression of ideas. This includes writing, images, films, multimedia, sound, websites and computer programs. You will own the copyright in your thesis, allowing you to copy or publish your own work.

You need to properly reference and acknowledge the use of other people's work in your research and publications. In some cases you may need to seek permission from the copyright owner to use the work.

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IP and commercial interests

Students who participate in research that is subject to a research contract, or has commercial potential, are required to assign any intellectual property they generate in the course of the project to the University prior to commencing work on the Project.

If you receive assistance or information from funding agencies and companies, confidentiality restrictions may affect your thesis. Seek advice if using confidential information in your research.

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CDU related links:

CDU Intellectual Property Policy






MyResearch links:

Copyright & plagiarism

External links:
IP Tertiary Fact Sheets: Useful resources for researchers