Student Invention Ownership

The advent of heightened interest around the issue of ownership of the Intellectual Property rights of what is created, invented or discovered by students has created a much more complex situation on the part of students, faculty, and providers of sponsorship and case studies.

PASSHE Universities respect the long-standing tradition that students own their academic work. In general, any Intellectual Property (such as theses and dissertations, inventions, discoveries, creations and new technologies) conceived or first reduced to practice by a student at a PASSHE University as a work product (including homework assignments, laboratory experiments, special and independent study projects) of a “for credit” course will be owned by the student. Generally, undergraduate and graduate students own any Intellectual Property that they create through enrollment in courses for academic credit. The University does not claim ownership of such Intellectual Property unless one or more of the following exceptions apply:

Note:  For the technology transfer procedures associated with each of the following scenarios, see Student Technology Transfer Procedures.

·         Material Support – When the University provides Material Support beyond the standard for student research, including academic credit and non-credit work, Intellectual Property will be owned by the University.

·         Faculty Collaboration – When there is collaboration between a student and University faculty or staff to create works as part of research or development activities, Intellectual Property will be owned by the University.

·         Special Situations –Special Situations may occur in certain courses or special projects where students are presented with the opportunity to participate in projects or activities in which the ownership of any resulting Intellectual Property must be assigned either to the University or to a sponsoring entity as a condition of the student's participation.

Note:  Special Student Intellectual Property Agreements are available to deal with all of the situations requiring assignment, or notification of the sponsors of the research.

When a student who is employed by the University creates Intellectual Property as part of their work duties, Intellectual Property will be owned by the University and will be subject to University policies and procedures governing Intellectual Property and patents. University employees include students working for pay, compensation, or tuition waivers through sponsored projects, work-study, work-for-hire arrangements, or other classifications. Students acting as employees are covered by the requirements that are applicable to other University employees and outlined in the Non-Faculty Technology Transfer Guide.

When the University owns the Intellectual Property, it may pursue protection and commercialization opportunities for the Intellectual Property and the Inventor. University ownership of Intellectual Property does not necessarily preclude students from receiving royalties resulting from commercialization of the work. In fact, in many cases University ownership can facilitate generation of royalties, license fees, or other income. See Non-Faculty Technology Transfer Guide for more information on the commercialization process.


VIDEOS: PASSHE Technical Transfer Guidelines, Student Intellectual Property