Formation of a Startup to Commercialize Applicable Inventions Guideline

Final Approval Body: Board of Trustees

Senior Administrative Position with Responsibility: Vice-Principal, Research

Date Initially Approved: May, 2022

Purpose of Guideline

The University recognizes that startup companies can be an effective approach to the commercialization of early-stage research and innovations.  In situations where a startup is based on an Applicable Invention being commercialized with assistance from the University (e.g., under an Intellectual Property Agreement with Contributors), agreements between the University and startup company may be put in place to grant suitable Intellectual Property Rights to such startup. In general, the University will not take an equity ownership in Researcher(s) and/or Student(s) founded startups receiving support services from the University, unless such equity is received as a term of a license agreement between the University and the startup, or as a condition of a specific program offered by the University to fund a startup.


A Researcher creating a startup or taking equity in a startup which has rights to use an Applicable Invention is encouraged to:

  1. Refer to the University’s conflict of interest policies or articles referenced in relevant collective agreements; 
  2. Discuss with the Department Head and/or Dean of the Faculty or School concerned, or other person delegated by the Dean, all proposed activities in which the individual is or proposes to be involved as an employee, consultant, manager, director, substantial shareholder, or owner of any startup operated for the purpose of commercializing Applicable Inventions. Such discussions are encouraged to occur before initiating commercial activity, and periodically throughout the commercialization activities.

Related Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines

Intellectual Property Commercialization Policy

Commercialization of Applicable Inventions Procedure

Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Procedure

Table Summarizing Policy Guideline

Guidelines Superseded by this Guideline

In the event of a conflict between the provisions of the aforementioned Procedure and the provisions of any current and/or future collective agreement covering a Researcher(s), Student(s), and/or Staff, the applicable collective agreement shall govern to the extent of the conflict. 

Responsible Officer: Vice-Principal, Research

Contact: Assistant Vice-Principal (Partnerships and Innovation)

Date for Next Review: 2027