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Intellectual property has attracted growing and persistent attention. The academic community, as a major generator of intellectual property, has special interests in the subject. Thus, intellectual property was selected as an important topic worthy of thorough investigation by the National Academies Policy Advisory Group (NAPAG). This is the first major report of NAPAG.;The working party which carried out the investigation drew on the expertis of all four if its constitutent accademies: The British Academy, the Conference of Medical Royal Colleges, The Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society.;The report examines fundamental questions of the general acceptability and scope of intellectual property rights and of their potentially distortive effects on the processes of scientific research. It also explores practical considerations related to collaborative research; acqusition, ownership and defence of rights; and appropriate reward.;This report is intended for anyone concerned with the impact of intellectual property issues on creative work, or the way current intellectual property regimes cope with technological advance.