Trinity University
Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook

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(5)    Researcher Responsibilities

(5A)    SPONSORED PROJECTS

(5B)    INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POLICY

(5C)   OPEN ACCESS POLICY

(5D)    USE OF HUMAN SUBJECTS IN RESEARCH

(5E)    ANIMAL CARE

(5F)    SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT

(5G)    CONSULTING POLICY

(5H)    UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS


(5B)    INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POLICY

For a summary of recent changes to this chapter, see Chapter 9A: Summary of Recent Revisions to this Handbook.

Contents of this page: 

  1. Principle of Ownership

  2. Equities of Participating Parties

  3. Copyrights

I.    PRINCIPLE OF OWNERSHIP

Technical information, discoveries, inventions, industrial values and patents resulting from research or investigation conducted by faculty, staff members, or students of Trinity University on its time or with its facilities are the property of the University and shall be assigned to the University or its designee. In the event that investigation results in discoveries or inventions which according to common usage may be patented, the University reserves the right to protect such inventions by patent application implicitly governing its action with due regard to the protection of the rights of the University and the interests of the employee inventor, the sponsor, and the student or investigator who has carried out the research contributory thereto, either as a thesis or as an assigned research project. The University shall own right, title, and interest to such patents, reserving the right to direct the assignment thereof to others.


II.    EQUITIES OF PARTICIPATING PARTIES

It is the policy of Trinity University with reference to all creative endeavors of its faculty, staff members, and students conducted on its time with its facilities to recognize the interests of the University, the faculty or staff member, student, sponsor, and other cooperating or participating agencies. It is recognized that patents or inventions might arise from research conducted on several different bases as noted below.

A.    Investigation financed wholly by the University, that is, sponsored by the University and carried out by University funds by persons paid by the University.

The principle of ownerships is stated in Section I above. Trinity University maintains an agreement with Research Corporation under which Research Corporation may acquire ownership of inventions made by members of the University’s faculty, its associates, students, and employees with the patent rights thereon and introduce them to public use. Research Corporation is a nonprofit foundation that includes among its activities patent management for colleges and universities. If, in the opinion of that organization, it would be desirable to make application for patent, the staff member shall assign his/her rights in the invention to the University, which will in turn make arrangements for application to be filed with the assistance of Research Corporation. If a patent issues, Research Corporation will make arrangements for exploitation of the patent through the granting of licenses to commercial firms. The inventor will receive 15% of the gross royalties received. Net proceeds after such royalties and after payment of exploitation of the patent are divided equally between the University and Research Corporation. The latter distributes its total net income as grants-in-aid for research to colleges, universities, and scientific institutions. Any payments made to retain an interest in the discovery or invention are divided equally between Trinity University and the faculty member.

If the University or Research Corporation is not interested in assuming the costs of the patent as outlined above, the inventor may apply in his/her own name and at his/her own expense, the invention title and royalties in this case being the private property of the inventor. Under these circumstances the inventor shall grant to the University a royalty-free, irrevocable nonexclusive license to make or use the invention for its own purposes.

B.    Investigations financed wholly or partially by government, philanthropic or other organizations, or by an individual not employed by the University.

If, in the opinion of the University, it would be desirable to make application for patent, the staff member shall assign his/her rights in the invention to the University, which will in turn make arrangements for application to be filed. If a patent issues, the University will make arrangements for exploitation of the patent through the granting of licenses to commercial firms. Net proceeds to the University after payment of expenses associated with exploitation of the patent are divided equally between the University and the inventor(s). Any payments made to retain an interest in the discovery or invention are divided equally between Trinity University and the faculty member. If the University is not interested in assuming the costs of the patent as outlined above, the inventor may apply in his/her own name and at his/her own expense, the invention title and royalties in this case being the private property of the inventor. Under these circumstances the inventor shall grant to the University a royalty-free, irrevocable nonexclusive license to make or use the invention for its own purposes.

C.    Investigations performed by an employee of the University wholly or partly on his/her own time and at his/her own expense.

Such cases shall be brought to the attention of the President of the University, who shall, with the aid of such advice as he/she may seek, determine whether the invention is of Type 1, Type 2, or Type 3.

Type 1. When a discovery is made wholly at the expense of the individual without the use of University facilities and outside the normal field of the individual’s employment, the results of such research are the private property of the investigator.

Type 2. When a discovery is made partly at the expense of the individual with the use of University facilities or in the normal field of the individual’s employment, the procedure shall be the same as that of Type I, given above.

Type 3. When a discovery is made by an individual acting as a consultant, the following procedures shall apply. University regulations require that staff members obtain authority to act as consultants by request to the VPFSA. If patents may be involved in the course of the consulting service, this subject must be covered in the request to do the work. If the individual is asked to sign an agreement covering patent matters as part of the consulting agreement, a copy of that agreement must be attached to and become part of the request to perform the consulting work.


III.   COPYRIGHTS

In accordance with the custom established in institutions of higher learning and the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright ownership of textbooks, manuscripts, literary work, visual work, performance and sound recordings, computer programs, and royalties therefrom belong to the author of such work, unless such work is made for hire. Any work made for hire is the property of the University. Work made for hire is defined as: 

    1.    Work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment (on the time of the University, in the facilities of the University, and/or with equipment of the University); 

    2.    Work specially ordered or commissioned for certain uses specified in the statutes and when there is a written agreement to consider the work work made for hire;

    3.    Work accomplished with the support of the University through salary, course credit, and/or stipends. 

The copyright shall be assigned to Trinity University or its designee in the same manner as that prescribed for patents under the policies above. The equities of the participating parties shall be handled in the same manner as that prescribed for patents under Section II above.

In case of doubt regarding applicability of the above, the case should be submitted to the President of Trinity University for clarification and a recommendation prior to performance or production of the work. The President of Trinity University shall be notified in writing of any such work where a copyright might be obtained. Such notification shall be transmitted through the departmental Chair and the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Budget and Research.

A.    Disputed Cases

In cases where dispute arises as to the application of the above policy regarding patents or copyrights, the executive committee of the Faculty Development Committee shall review the case, hear presentations of evidence from all sides, and act as advisory body to the President in his/her determination of the University’s position.

B.    Equity and Management

In the event that Research Corporation acquires ownership of intellectual property, per the above, no further assignment of equity or participation in management is ordinarily possible.


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