Employee Innovation and Intellectual Property Guidelines

These guidelines are effective April 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019.


The purpose of this document is to foster a culture of innovation among Yale New Haven Health employees; to establish incentives for employees to share their innovative solutions to problems facing the healthcare industry with YNHH; and mutually develop those solutions to fruition and potentially share any commercialized intellectual property as a result.


These guidelines apply to employees of Yale New Haven Health, which includes Yale New Haven Health Services Corporation and each of its affiliated subsidiary entities. Faculty, researchers, and students of Yale Medicine are subject to Yale University’s intellectual property policies, but may participate in innovation projects pursuant to a collaborative arrangement between the University and the Health System.

General Policy:

Under the work product doctrine, any intellectual property developed by a YNHHS employee in the course of his/her employment or utilizing YNHHS resources (equipment, software licenses, staff, existing intellectual property, know-how, etc.) is the property of YNHHS. This document establishes the framework under which YNHHS will share its ownership of certain intellectual property with employees who significantly contribute to its development.

  • Type 1: Sparq Value Innovation Grant Award (Special Achievement Cash Award) (between $5,000 and $15,000)

    • Awarded by the Innovation Value Council (IVC) for projects/solutions of value to YNHHS, but where it is difficult to quantify any intellectual property of commercial value or the IP is already owned by another party.
    • Typically provided as an individual incentive to employees and their respective departments when the employee’s time and expertise is required on an Innovation project.
    • Milestone-based bonus payments paid to selected employees for the execution of operational responsibilities required to implement solutions selected by the IVC (or delegated subcommittee).
    • Departmental budget allocation to cover employee time spent leading the development/implementation of the solution.
    • Vice Presidents and above are not eligible.

  • Type 2: Sparq Value Innovation Grant Award for Joint Ownership of Patented Intellectual Property - Patent

    • Awarded for projects/solutions submitted to the IVC by employees and selected by the IIC for development.
    • YNHHS commitment to fund the project with a budget established within the project submission.
    • Inventor status on patentable IP will be determined on the merits on a case by case basis and/or shared via agreement.
    • Employee signs Joint Intellectual Property agreement (to be developed)
    • YNHH shares margin generated from selling the commercialized IP (after recovering development/grant expenses) with employee through an incentive plan mechanism, whereby targets are defined and incentive payments are made based on the margin generated by the IP and the targets established by the incentive program. Prerequisites include: (i) patent achieved; (ii) licensed; (iii) revenue received; (iv) investment/costs recovered.
    • Employee must remain employed in order to continue receiving incentive payments from the program
    • Special exceptions may be made in the discretion of the IVC if the IP is not patented, but is commercialized (e.g., QVI), to permit similar incentives based on revenue/sales of the IP.

Additional Considerations

  • Development of Sparq Value Innovation Joint Development Agreement, compliant with Stark & AKS, to be used with independent physicians and innovators who are not employed within the Health System.

    • YNHH may, at its sole discretion, enter into a Sparq Value Innovation Joint Development Agreement with an employee upon termination of employment with the Health System.

  • Inventory, Assessment, & Apportionment of pre-existing projects and potential IP throughout the Health System.