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402 Intellectual Property Policy

402.01 Introduction

University of West Georgia recognizes and encourages the publication of scholarly works and the creation/development of copyrightable/patentable inventions and materials.  These products of research and scholarly inquiry are deemed to be integral parts of our institutional mission--teaching, research, and service.  The University acknowledges that faculty, staff, and students who are employees of the institution regularly prepare articles, pamphlets, books, and other scholarly works for publication and produce materials, which may be subject to copyright and patent laws of the United States.  Such products of scholarly activity may generate royalty income.  With the advent of innovative techniques and procedures, the variety and number of materials which might be created in a university community have increased significantly, causing the ownership of such copyrightable and patentable materials to become increasingly complex.

Intellectual property in the form of copyrightable and patentable materials are often products of University faculty, staff, and/or student activities aided wholly or in part through the use of University resources.  It becomes significant, therefore, to ensure the utilization of such intellectual property for the public good and to expedite their development and marketing.  The rights and privileges, as well as the incentive, of the creator or inventor must be preserved so that his or her abilities and those of other faculty, staff or students of the University  may be further encouraged and stimulated.

Accordingly, and in full compliance with Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia Policy governing copyrights and patents (see Policies of the Board of Regents Section #603 ) University of West Georgia does hereby establish the following policy with respect to the ownership of copyrightable and patentable materials resulting from the work of its faculty, staff, and students, on projects and activities supported in part or fully by the use of University  resources.

402.02 Definitions

402.0201 "Intellectual Property" shall be deemed to refer to patentable materials, copyrighted materials, trademarks, software, and trade secrets, whether or not formal protection is sought.

402.0202 "Copyrighted Materials" shall include the following:

  1. Books, journal articles, texts, glossaries, bibliographies, study guides, laboratory manual, syllabi, tests and proposals.
  2. Lectures, musical or dramatic compositions, unpublished scripts.
  3. Films, filmstrips, charts, transparencies, and other visual aids.
  4. Video and audio tapes or cassettes.
  5. Live video and audio broadcasts.
  6. Programmed instructional materials.
  7. Mask works.
  8. Other materials or works, including software, which qualify for protection under the copyright laws of the United States or other protective statutes whether or not registered thereunder.

402.0203 "Patentable Materials" shall be deemed to refer to items other than software which reasonably appear to qualify for protection under the patent laws of the United States or other protective statutes whether or not patentable thereunder.

402.0204 Glossary of Terms

  1. Software shall include one or more computer programs existing in any form, or any associated operational procedures, manuals or other documentation, whether or not protectable or protected by patent or copyright.  The term "computer program" shall mean a set of instructions, statements or related data that, in actual or modified form, is capable of causing a computer or computer system to perform specified functions.
  2. Trademarks shall include all trademarks, service marks, trade names, seals, symbols, designs, slogans, or logotypes developed by or associated with the University System or any of its institutions.
  3. Trade secrets means information including, but not limited to, technical or nontechnical data, a formula, a pattern, a compilation, a program, a device, a method, a technique, a drawing, a process, financial data, financial plans, product plans, or a list of actual or potential customers or suppliers which:
    1. Derives economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use.
    2. Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
  4. Mask work means a series of related images, however fixed or encoded:
    1. Having or representing the  predetermined, three dimensional pattern of metallic, insulating, or semiconductor material present or removed from the layers of a semiconductor chip product.
    2. In which series the relation of the images to one another is that each image has the pattern of the surface of one form of the semiconductor chip product.

402.03 Determination of Rights and Equities in Copyrightable Patentable Materials

402.0301 Individual Effort.  Copyrightable and patentable materials produced by employees of the University of West Georgia shall be the exclusive property of the employees if there is no significant use of University personnel or facilities (libraries excluded) and the materials are not prepared in accordance with the terms of a contract or grant or as a specific University assignment.  A faculty member's general obligation to produce scholarly and creative works does not constitute a specific assignment.

402.0302 University-Assisted Individual Effort.  Joint rights of ownership and/or sharing of royalty income shall be ensured where the University provides significant support of an individual's effort resulting in copyrightable/patentable materials by the contribution of faculty or staff time, facilities (libraries excluded), or University resources.  Division of income from royalties and other use shall be agreed upon in writing by members of the University and appropriate administrative personnel in accordance with procedures of the University of West Georgia Intellectual Property Committee.  Such written agreements between the employees and the University should be executed in the advance of the use of University personnel, facilities, or resources.  In the absence of a written agreement, the rights of ownership and royalties shall be determined by the Intellectual Property Committee subject to the Policies of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

402.0303 University-Assisted Effort.  Ownership of copyrightable and/or patentable material developed as a result of assigned University duties shall reside with the University; however, sharing of royalty income with the author/inventor is authorized as an incentive to encourage further development, research, and intellectual inquiry.

402.0304 Sponsor-Supported Efforts.  Rights to copyrightable/patentable materials developed as a result of work supported partially or fully by an outside agency through a contract or grant shall be disposed of in accordance with the terms of the contract or grant.  In those cases where all rights are vested in the University or in cases where royalty income is shared between the sponsor and the University, the author may appropriately share in the income.  The nature and extent of author participation in royalty income, however, shall be subject to sponsor and university regulations.

402.04 Reporting Intellectual Property

University of West Georgia personnel engaged in research or creative activities are encouraged to file a written report through the Intellectual Property Committee to establish ownership rights to any copyrightable/patentable materials that may be produced prior to the use of institutional resources.

402.05 Administrative Procedures

The President shall designate the Institution's Intellectual Property Officer and establish a University of West Georgia Intellectual Property Committee.

402.0501 Intellectual Property Officer.  The Intellectual Property Officer, a member of the general faculty, shall serve at the pleasure of the President and be responsible for and active in all matters relevant to copyright/patent policies and procedures of the University.  The Intellectual Property Officer shall provide advice and assistance in copyright/patent related matters to the faculty, staff, and students; to the President and administration of the University; and to Sponsored agencies bound to the University by contract or grant obligations.  The Intellectual Property Officer shall work with the University of West Georgia Intellectual Property Committee to develop and monitor institutional policies and procedures.  The Intellectual Property Officer shall maintain records, executed copyright/patent/royalty agreements, and official correspondence of his or her office and of the Intellectual Property Committee.

402.0502 Intellectual Property Committee.  The Intellectual Property Committee shall be a standing body and shall report to the President through the Intellectual Property Officer.  The Intellectual Property Committee shall consist of seven members: two from  the College of Arts and Sciences (one from science/technical areas and one from a field in the arts), and one each from the College of Business, College of Education, Ingram Library, Division of Business and Finance, and Division of Budget and Research Services.  The President shall solicit nominations for the committee from the supervisors of the administrative units indicated above.  Members shall be appointed by the President and serve three-year (staggered) terms.  The President shall designate a chair from among the members of the committee.

  1. Duties.  The Intellectual Property Committee shall:
    1. Recommend University policies and procedures pertaining to copyrights and patents to the President and faculty for action.
    2. Recommend changes to University copyright and patent policies and procedures to the President and faculty for action.
    3. Review all intellectual property matters submitted to it by faculty, staff, students, sponsored agencies, and University officials for compliance with University policy, Board of Regents' Policy, and contractual/grant based obligations.
    4. Negotiate agreements with faculty, staff, and student employees of the University and recommend the classification of ownership rights to copyrightable/patentable materials produced by employees using University resources and recommend an equitable distribution of royalties thus generated.

402.06 Right of Appeal

In the event of a disagreement as to the ownership of intellectual property or to the recommended distribution of royalties, the University of West Georgia employee (faculty, staff, or student) shall have the right to appeal to the Intellectual Property Committee, then appeal to the President of the University, and then to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.