Higher education has become a quintessential pursuit for the majority of students graduating secondary institutions. A volatile job market saturated with highly qualified applicants has caused a social evolution, a bachelor’s degrees has replaced a high school diploma as the minimum education requirement to ensure a comfortable lifestyle.
As a society we have accepted this new social convention without sufficiently investigating its implications both fiscally and legally to students. The standard high school diploma presented by a public secondary institution is free to students and funded by a combination of local, state, and federal tax dollars. Today, with an average tuition rate of approximately $19,000 annually (according the National Center for Education Statistics) students incur gross amounts of debt to attain a four-year degree.
Aside from the financial evolution, there is an evolution in the education process itself. With powerful technology so readily available to students it is commonplace for exceptional innovation to occur at the bachelor level of post-secondary school. With an increasing number of technology and business-savvy students the number of start-up companies, licensing deals, and patented innovations has been exceptionally high.
A critical part of innovation is the impartial evaluation of ownership. Historically, post-secondary institutions possess the legal right to pursue intellectual protection to any invention or innovation created by a faculty or staff member or any group consisting of faculty or staff members. This policy is commonplace in the corporate world and applies to all individuals who are on the payroll of the institution. However, it has placed students in interesting legal predicaments due to ambaguity surrounding university IP policies. It is because of this that The Ideation Foundation through it’s think tank IDEAthink decided to research current university policies.
The State of Colorado
Some examples of these intellectual property policies include the following
Current University of Colorado IP Policy as passed by the regents of the University of Colorado
“Every included person, as a condition of employment, or of his/her education, and every user of University facilities shall comply with this policy and hereby agrees as follows:”
“The Technology Transfer Office agrees to share and distribute net receipts received from the commercialization of any discovery developed under the terms of an agreement as follows:
- 25 percent to discoverer(s) personally;
- 25 percent to a University campus account for support of discoverer’s(s’) research;
- 25 percent to an account for the benefit of the University; and
- 25 percent to the Campus Chancellor, which will be directed to research with technology transfer potential and distributed on a percentage basis as determined at each individual campus.”
Some states have passed state wide policies to include:
The State of Ohio
(Ohio RS 3345.14 Rights to and interests in discoveries, inventions or patents – establishment of rules.)
All rights to and interests in discoveries, inventions, or patents which result from research or investigation conducted in any experiment station, bureau, laboratory, research facility, or other facility of any state college or university, or by employees of any state college or university acting within the scope of their employment or with funding, equipment, or infrastructure provided by or through any state college or university, shall be the sole property of that college or university. No person, firm, association, corporation, or governmental agency which uses the facilities of such college or university in connection with such research or investigation and no faculty member, employee, or student of such college or university participating in or making such discoveries or inventions, shall have any rights to or interests in such discoveries or inventions, including income therefrom, except as may, by determination of the board of trustees of such college or university, be assigned, licensed, transferred, or paid to such persons or entities in accordance with division (C) of this section or in accordance with rules adopted under division (D) of this section.
The State of Minnesota
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board Policy
“Student Works. a) Intellectual property rights in student works belong to the student who created the work. b) A creative work by a student to meet course requirements using college or university resources for which the student has paid tuition and fees to access courses/programs or using resources available to the public, is the property of the student. c) A work created by a student employee during the course and scope of employment is an institutional work and intellectual property rights to such creation belong to the college or university unless an agreement, sponsorship agreement, or other condition described in Subpart B or C below provides otherwise.”
More Research to Come……