I am a researcher working for a university, and I am forming a collaboration with an industry partner. This collaboration involves us both signing a contract related to IP. The contract states that "each party owns the foreground IP it generates during the project".
What I would like to know, is what it actually means to "own the IP" for an invention. Does this simply mean that this party has the right to patent the invention? And if that party decides not to patent the invention, then does "owning the IP" actually mean anything in practice? If I owned the IP, would this mean that the company would not be allowed to use it for free?
And on a related topic, let's say this collaboration goes ahead, and I write a paper describing this invention in detail, and publish it in public domain. Would I still own the IP? Or does putting something in the public domain mean that the IP is now public?