Inventions, Patents and Copyrights

Policy in Regards to Inventions, Patents, and Copyrights

Rapid and evolving technological changes, emerging opportunities and challenges, and concern for the public interest and the broader purposes of this University, make it advisable for the University to set forth its policies with respect to inventions, patents and copyrights which may result from University activities. The complex and evolving nature of these issues makes it impractical to state a comprehensive policy that can be mechanically applied to every situation that might arise. It is therefore expected that detailed policy will evolve from particular cases based on interpretation of the following general principles:

  • The mission of the University is and will continue to be to encourage research, teaching and scholarship for the widest benefit and the broadest public good, without regard to potential gain from commercial or other royalties;

  • Consistent with that mission, it may nevertheless be appropriate and desirable for the University and individual authors and inventors to benefit financially from the sale of products based on their inventions or other creative works; and

  • When significant use is made of University time or facilities, it is reasonable for the University to participate in the fruits of any commercial introduction of such inventions or works, and to use any funds thus accruing to the University for the purpose of advancing and encouraging further research and scholarly endeavors.

When research or other activities carried out at the University or with the substantial use of its facilities, time, or funds result in inventions or discoveries which may be patentable or otherwise protectable, the member of the University making such inventions or discoveries shall immediately disclose them to the University or its designee. The University will then promptly determine whether title will vest in the University and whether it wishes to pursue patent or other protection. If the University elects to do so, the University shall have the right to evaluate and seek patent or other protection and to undertake efforts to introduce the inventions or discoveries into public or commercial use. The individual will be expected to cooperate in every reasonable way (but at no expense to the individual) with the University. Royalties or other income, if any, may be shared between the University and the individual according to particular circumstances, but generally the inventor may receive between 15% and 50% of any net proceeds that result from commercial exploitation after costs incurred have been taken into account. If the University elects not to pursue patent or other protection, the individual may do so on his or her own.

Ordinarily, the University will not assert an interest in faculty-authored scholarly works, art works, musical compositions and dramatic and non-dramatic literary works related to the faculty member's professional field, unless such work is commissioned by the University, or is a work-for-hire under the terms of the Copyright Act of 1976 as amended, or it is desirable and appropriate for the University to retain a unified copyright in an entire body of work to which an individual has contributed in part (such as the Distance Learning Initiative of the College of Business).

This policy will be administered by and through "Matters Temporal, L.L.C.," a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University. Its Managers shall consist of the Provost, the Vice President for Business and Finance, and the President of the University or his designee. Matters Temporal, L.L.C. shall have wide discretion to implement this policy, to advise on further policies and implementations, to evaluate and introduce discoveries or inventions commercially, to make final determinations in particular cases with respect to royalty issues, and otherwise to handle and administer the intellectual properties and rights of the University. It is expected that the conditions for any commercial exploitation of intellectual properties or rights shall be consistent with the policies of the University, the terms of any outside sponsorship of the activities that led to the discoveries or inventions, and the requirements of law and professional ethics.

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