Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer Policies

Coordinator for this page

Denise Rodino, Associate Director
Faculty Grants and Government Relations, Smith College (Northampton, MA)

CLASP policies collected on this topic

Collected from October 2011 survey.

Agnes Scott College Decatur, GA
Amherst College Amherst, MA
Bates College (pp 19-24)
Berry College GA, Mount Berry
Carleton College Northfield, MN
Colgate University NY, Hamilton
Connecticut College Connecticut, New London
Hamilton College NY, Clinton
Hope College MI, Holland
Kalamazoo College
Lewis & Clark College OR, Portland
Rollins College FL, Winter Park
Smith College MA, Northampton
Trinity Unversity TX, San Antonio
Union College NY, Schenectady

Intellectual Property Policy: Overview

13 member colleges have filed their IP Policy on the CLASP Wiki: Amherst College (A); Berry (B); Carleton (C); Colgate (CO); Connecticut (CT); Hamilton College (H); Hope College (HO); Kalamazoo College (K); Lewis & Clark College (LC); Rollins College (R)*; Smith College (S); Trinity College (T); Union College (U). *Rollins’ IP policy is based on that of Stanford University.

This introduction to the documents in aggregate will: identify critical IP policy issues and inclusions; reference those institutions addressing issues noted; highlight those policies that are widespread as well as unusual. The organizing factors of this brief are: standard order of appearance within the policy documents coupled with issues addressed by a significant number of respondent institutions. Many items are portrayed generally rather than specifically, for ease of the reader.

Seeking policies with significant legal language, etc.? Berry, Union
Easiest to read and understand? Colgate, Rollins

General IP introduction: history (general and institutional), rationale, purpose, scope, goals (B, C, CO, CT, H, HO, LC, S, T,U)

Oversight of IP
By Individual: Provost (B with Academic Council defining policy; K); VP & Treasurer (C); Provost and Financial VP (CO)provides oversight and sets up contracts but does not create policy; Dean of Faculty (CT); VP Academic Affairs (H); Secretary of the College (LC); Dean of Academic Development (S)
By Committee: Committee on Intellectual Policy (CO) sets policy and advises the Provost on issues; Committee on Intellectual Property (R, S, U); Patent Advisory Committee, reporting to the President, and consulting IP lawyer(s) makes decisions on legal matters (HO) as well as on patenting, commercialization, licensing, etc.
Conflict Resolution By: President (B, HO); Dean/VP/Provost and ad-hoc committee created for dispute (CT, K, S, U); overseeing individual named above (H); Committee on Faculty Development and President (T)

Individuals potentially involved in IP: Wide agreement on: faculty, staff (including administration), students (and, separately, students working as employees), consultants, contractors.

Definitions of IP Terms (B very inclusive; CT, H, HO, K, LC, R, S, T, U)
  • College resources, college personnel, identity interest (works more about college than creative works of the authors), functional interest (works necessary to college operations) (H)
  • Invention = ideas, processes, inventions, machines, technology concepts, designs, manufacture, programs, trade secrets, compositions of matter, discoveries other proprietary information or improvement there of (?); IP is “copyrightable, patentable or trademark/service mark materials, as determined by law” (H); IP is “inventions, creations, new processes, innovations, tangible research materials, etc.” (S)

Faculty IP Disclosure (see 3-page Disclosure Form, HO)
  • Faculty must disclose IP made in institutional facilities (B, CO, CT, HO, K, LC, R, S, U)
  • Faculty must disclose inventions discovered under government funding (HO)
IP ownership
  • All rights remain with the creator unless the IP represents work for hire; college disclaims other IP ownership (R) (and other?)
  • If no contract, creator owns IP (H)
  • Ownership decided by Dean of Academic development in consultation with the creator (S)
  • College does not own copyright to traditional works of art, curricular material or software (unless work for hire) by faculty or students, or to traditional works of scholarship, curricular material or software by staff working within their scope (K)
  • inventor must execute documents of ownership assignment to the university (CO)
  • own their creative, pedagogical (except works for hire) and scholarly works, or “traditional works of scholarship” (B, C, CO)
  • are encouraged to have written contracts for works with students, sponsors, work done by groups of faculty, by multiple departments and/or divisions, etc., prior to project commencement (C, HO)
  • own their own creative works and traditional works of scholarship (B, C)
  • are encouraged to have written agreement for work arrangements with responsible staff, faculty, outside sponsors PRIOR to project (C)
  • College waives any copyright interest (even legally) in works by students (CO)
  • College may not use student images (pictures, video, etc.) or materials outside of class without a signed release (R)
  • College owns all IP created by employees [works for hire] (administration, staff, consultants, sometimes students and faculty) (B)
  • College owns IP of staff’s “traditional works of scholarship” done within scope of employment (?)
  • Delineation of special circumstances in staff IP, including requirement that staff must obtain authority to act as consultants from the VPFSA (T)
  • Consultants required to assign IP ownership to college (CT); Consultants must have IP agreement (CT)
  • Consultants own their work for hire in the absence of a signed agreement (R)

  • owns copyright in work for hire [even if the employee was a student], directed works, commissioned works, administrative works--policies, internal studies, reports, software, public relations pieces, advertising, admissions and campaign materials, and advertising, etc. ) (B, C, CO, H, K, LC, R, T)
  • owns “all intellectual property created by its employees within the scope of their employment, by persons acting under contract with the College, and by students and other persons using College facilities for research and study, including sole right to negotiate sales and licenses relating to said intellectual property” (LC) (Similar policy HO and T) College owns patents to any invention conceived using University facilities or sponsored research agreement (CO; in conflict with other stated policy?)
  • owns IP of all but Sponsored Research (outside contract required), appealable within 90 days to the VPAA (U)
  • owns IP of sponsored research investigations (T); seeks sponsored research agreements that allow college to retain ownership of IP (U); owns IP on funded projects IF there is no written agreement/contract (B)
  • does not own IP by faculty who are provided “Routine support” by the college (lengthy description of “routine”) whether faculty or students are creators. (?)
Joint ownership
  • Prior ownership agreement/contract (suggested in all cases, required in many) detailing potential joint ownership (B, C, CO, CT, H, HO) especially in regard to outside sponsorship, where college provides unusual support, in projects involving groups of people or entities, etc.
  • IP by faculty and students using special College funding shall be jointly owned (K); (CO) with pre-agreed contract
  • In cases of normal use of College resources, the college owns 40% of gross equity interest; of above normal use of College resources, College will have 60% of gross equity interest (CT)

Revenue Distribution typically follows ownership distribution. In cases of joint ownership, royalties are most often distributed by written partnership agreement.
  • If no distribution agreement exists on IP jointly owned by the college and a partner, the college owns 100% of royalties (C)
  • College owns revenues on all works for hire (B); Patents created by staff within the scope of their work are owned by the college (?)
  • Party supporting start-up costs will first recover all costs; then income to be divided by contractual agreement (S)
Specific allocations
  • Typical ownership 50% PI, 50% institution (U); After cost recovery, Contributor receives 50%, college 50% (?)
  • After college reimbursement for expenses: 50% to PI on first $100,000, 25% PI on >$100,000; Balance divided between the College and the PI’s school (LC)
  • 100% to college until expenses are paid, then 75% to PI, 15% to Department, 5% to division, 5% to college for 1st $10,000 (and more….) (HO)
  • For college owned patents, after expenses 40% investigator, 20% PI dept; 40% college (CO, R)
  • Work for Hire 75% to College, 25% to creator (HO)
  • Inventor receives 15% of gross royalties (T)
  • If the College provides “normal” (normal not defined) use of college facilities , 40% of gross equity to college; if it provides above normal use (not defined) 60% of gross equity goes to college (CT)
Revenues, General
  • Berry College addresses this issue through policies on Commercialization rather than revenue sharing
  • Hamilton has 7 page, separate policy “the Hamilton College Policy on College-owned Intellectual Property) (H)
IP Ownership Transfer
  • College will seek patent or copyright; if College declines or terminates, the IP ownership reverts to author (?, B, CO)
  • College may reassign its owned copyrights at will (C, H, LC, U)
  • IP, especially by group creation, may, with college approval, be transferred to the College (H)
  • Policy for reconveyance/assignment of copyright/patent to creator (R, T)
Pursuit of Patents, etc.
  • College agrees to execute legal actions in IP ownership, including prosecution of patent and copyright, for projects where college has full or joint ownership (?)
  • Committee on Intellectual Property decides whether college will pursue patent (R)
  • Mediation by Commercial Mediation of American Arbitration Association in cases of commercialization issues (B)
Research Corporation (one item missing)
  • RC has right of first refusal for applying for a patent for discoveries (T)
  • College will file and prosecute IP agreements (where there is a contract for joint ownership) with Research Corporation; if Research Corp declines to pursue commercialization, agreement between partners expected (CT)

Other Faculty Requirements relating to IP
  • Faculty, staff and students are obligated to know IP policy (B, ?)
  • Faculty PI may be required to sign a patent agreement (HO)
  • Faculty or staff engaged in consulting/other business must ensure that this work does not conflict with College IP policy (HO)
  • College may record, with faculty approval, lectures etc.; may replicate works; and may use such recordings for non-revenue producing purposes (B); College can use copyrighted work designed for use by individuals in addition to the creator for teaching, administration or other college activities (C); College may use course materials created by faculty (R); Policy on PI ownership and use of course materials (including Blackboard and other course management tools) (R)
Institutional Resources available
  • The college provides technical and legal assistance …to protect ownership and aid commercial development (H)
  • College provides resources to help on IP decisions (CO or before?)
Other College Policies Referenced and/or Available within documents:
  • Copyrighted materials and Fair Use Policy (A, C, R)
  • Sponsored Project Policies (T); College role in conflicts with sponsor (U)
  • Policy for Sale of tangible results of research (U)
  • Consulting Policy (T); Scientific misconduct and consulting policy (T, U, which has a committee for the purpose)
  • Policy on college ownership of trademarks (R)
  • College name may be used only when College has given permission in cases where college has no ownership (CT)
  • IP for Distance learning [not yet set] (CO)

Related news and other resources
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