Cisco Blogs

A Question of IP

October 30, 2008 - 5 Comments

Not the Internet Protocol this time, but Intellectual Property…With any contest soliciting ideas, questions pop-up on who owns the IP? We’re getting quite a few questions on who owns the IP for the ideas submitted to the Cisco ‘Think Inside the Box’ Developer contest. As you may already know, we’re conducting this contest in two Phases: Phase-1 involves submitting the concept on the proposal template provided by Cisco; Phase-2 involves the prototype proof-of-concept application development. Let’s consider Phase-1 first. By submitting your proposal, you’re providing to Cisco a non-exclusive license to use the proposal template as described in the terms and conditions. Non-exclusive means, you as submitter of the idea continue to own the IP rights, but grant Cisco a broad license to the content of the proposal template. For specific license terms, please see the contest official rules. In Phase-2, qualified finalists will have an opportunity to create a working prototype demonstrating proof-of-concept. Again, Cisco takes a non-exclusive license, but the license only covers a portion of the rights that apply to the Proposal Template. Since one of Cisco’s objectives in launching this contest is to seek innovative ideas and possibly productize the solution, Cisco also requires to have a first right of refusal for a period of 6 months after the end of the Contest Period. This means, if the participant wishes to sell, lease, license or otherwise transfer the idea, in whole or in part, to any third party, within 6 months after the contest ends, they need to approach Cisco for an offer first. If Cisco refuses, or doesn’t get back to them within 10 business days, then they’re free to move forward with the third party offer. We realize contest rules and legalities can often seem couched in legal jargon that isn’t easily understood. But do give the contest terms and conditions a thorough read, as it overrides anything else that you may hear about the contest from anywhere, this blog included. If you continue to have questions, send them to us at “”. Or blog back with your comments.We’d love to hear more ideas from you. Spread the word among your friends and programmer colleagues. Who knows, a friend you refer may just end up winning the contest 🙂

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  1. Thank you. I will show information about new contest to my friends.

  2. Hi James, where do you see this?

  3. Chris - I'm checking back on your specific case with our legal counsel and will revert back. What is the policy with your University? Did you check with them? In many cases such policies apply to University employees and not students.

  4. Shashi, I am planning to team up with a few of my fellow students. Given that universities tend to have rights to students innovations, how does his contest handle the issue of IP if students like me submit proposals ?ThanksChris

  5. What does S T D F stand for?