The commercialisation strategy will generally involve one of the following two routes, but is not limited hereto and specific requirements may lead to different strategies:

  • Licensing intellectual property:
    A licence gives a company the right to use the intellectual property to make a product and, in return, the UFS usually gets a royalty on the sales turnover of the product. The UFS retains ownership of the intellectual property and if the company does not fulfil its contractual obligations, the licence can be cancelled. A licence may be exclusive (i.e. only one company gets the rights), or non-exclusive. A licence may also be restricted to a particular geographic area.
  • Creation of a spin-out company:
    The UFS may assign the intellectual property of the spin-out company or may license the intellectual property to the spin-out company. The UFS will generally get income from dividends issued by the spin-out company or from sale of shares, but may also get royalty on turnover depending on the agreement between the UFS and the spin-out company.


In 2011, an undergraduate student support service was established in the office of Innovation and Business Development. Opportunities for innovation to thrive are often overlooked for undergraduate students at South African universities. The amount of innovation at that level is generally considered to be insignificant.


Intellectual property describes a range of instruments that can be used to define, protect and exploit new and innovative ideas. These ideas could take on a range of forms, such as inventions, product names, logos, plots of novel, musical theme tunes or product designs. The law recognises various categories of rights that can be established over ideas and these rights are referred to as intellectual property rights.

The staff at the UFS is encouraged to disclose inventions and to use the support provided by the Office for Innovation and Business Development. Please follow the link below to view the generic technology transfer process at the UFS. Initial disclosure is done by the individual, using the Research Information Management System (RIMS).

WATCH: Intellectual Property - Intro

WATCH: Intellectual Property - Conversations About Physics

Director: Research Contracts and Innovation

Prudence Clarke
T: +27 51 401 3108

General enquires
Muneera Mansoor
T: +27 51 3047 

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