In some research projects, research data are protected by property rights (copyrights/authors’ rights, industrial patents, contract with funders, etc). Consider what rights apply to your research data (both those you created and those from third-party that you will reuse). Look at these official documents and see who own these rights. It will help you to figure out what you can and cannot do with the data. These rights have indeed implications on data creation, sharing, and reuse. Depending on your contract/patent, there might be a joint property rights, and/or a limitation of what you can do with your data (what data, with what embargo period, etc.).


UCLouvain owns research results (including any data, information, creative ideas, inventions, developments, discoveries, whether patentable or not) carried out by its researcher(s).

When the research is externally funded (by a company for exemple), the issue of ownership of the results is governed by the binding agreement between UCLouvain and the external funding provider.


Where UCLouvain is the sole owner of research results, it alone decides, within the Louvain Technology Transfer Office (LTTO), on any legal measures that may be taken to protect them: patent, trademark, copyright.

UCLouvain particularly encourages all researchers to ensure the confidentiality of shared information/data and to lay the groundwork for data exchanges by signing non-disclosue agreements (NDA) and data transfer agreements (DTA).


Sopartec is the Technology Transfer and investment company of the UCLouvain. Sopartec's mission, within the LTTO, is to bring out the results of research carried out by UCLouvain, by creating spin-offs and negotiating licence or cession agreements.


Research results and data can lead to a patent application if the patentability criteria are respected. Patent applications are published at 18 months and contribute to the visibility and reputation of researchers, especially with the industries. They are a form of dissemination of knowledge. Patents are also an important source of technical information that complete scientific publications. 

Do not forget to mention in the DMP that research results and data that are patentable will be protected appropriately in collaboration with the LTTO.


Scientific publications of research data are important for the career and visibility of researchers. Fortunately, they are not incompatible with patents. The researchers only have to take care about the timing: the patent application must be submitted before the scientific publication is disclosed. The drafting of a patent application can be done in parallel with the (confidential) submission of the scientific article to reviewers.

At UCLouvain, the Louvain Transfer Technology Office (LTTO) help you managing intellectual property rights and support research knowledge transfer: