Report: Grounding IP Collaboration

Published on
April 29, 2020

Gilbert’s is pleased to introduce our new series of short reports on IP Strategy. These reports examine key questions, considerations, and concepts pertinent to collaborative engagements that utilize or result in the creation of intellectual property or other intangible assets. Such collaborative engagements frequently involve a combination of governments, SMEs, large firms, colleges and universities, and non-profits that together share and create intangible assets.

A well-drafted collaboration agreement is critical in cementing the rights and obligations of each party to the collaborative engagement. Fundamental to such agreements is the appropriate consideration of intellectual property (“IP”) rights implicated or created over the course of the engagement.

Our first paper in the series, Grounding IP Collaboration, explains how IP rights relevant to collaborative engagement can be stratified based on the timing and circumstances of their creation, and reviews key considerations for how each stratum of IP rights can be addressed in a collaboration agreement.


  • A thoughtful collaboration agreement is an important first step in any collaborative engagement.
  • In order to ensure that the full range of implicated IP rights is considered under a collaboration agreement, the parties should stratify IP rights based on the timing and circumstances of their creation.
  • The result should often be at least four strata of rights: background IP, foreground IP, sideground IP, and postground IP.
  • For each stratum, parties will need to address certain key considerations, including identification and disclosure requirements, and ownership and compensation structures.

Click here to view the full PDF version of the report.

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