IP policy at West Midlands universities part 1

Cross-posted from Student Intellectual Property Rights

Following on from my previous post, I narrowed down my study of university IP policy to West Midlands-based universities. As there are quite a few universities in the region, I will firstly be looking at Aston, Keele and Staffordshire. Once again, below is a brief table to summarise the policy of each university I have just mentioned.

Staffordshire University

Firstly I looked at Staffordshire’s IP policy. My initial research pointed me towards this page, which only includes a brief paragraph discussing IP, which states as follows:

“The University owns the intellectual property rights of all work produced during your studies (see the General Regulations for Students). If you wish to include any artefacts produced during your project e.g. film or video within your portfolio you MUST write to the Faculty Business Manager to request approval.”

This, as I have come to understand, is pretty standard practice. However, one unusual difference is that final sentence.

Most other universities, as I looked at previously, claim the ownership of the work as a whole but do acknowledge that the individual steps taken towards it have been made by the student. It is quite rare for the policy to be so watertight as to expect a student to request permission to include what is effectively his or her own work.

This led me to look at the policy in more depth, which I found here: (Regulation 18)

“18.1 All intellectual property rights in and to any work created by a student during the course of his/her study will belong to and be the absolute property of the University and the student will do all such acts and sign all necessary deeds and documents to vest legal title in and to the intellectual property in the University.  The student will, if required to do so and at the University’s reasonable expense, assist the University in the defence/commencement of any infringement proceedings in connection with the intellectual property.

18.2 Students will assign patent rights to the University where the work capable of being patented under the Patents Act 1977 was made, discovered or developed during the course of their study.  The University will, if required by law to do so, ensure that the student is acknowledged and has the chance to a share in any profits derived from the exploitation of any patent that is granted.”

Again, this is interesting because the policy seems far more watertight than others I have looked at, especially with the mention of paperwork and defence in case of infringement. It also hints at the existence of a revenue sharing policy.

Keele University

In-depth details of Keele’s policy were more difficult to come across because it is under review at this time, however, this page does have the following information:

“Why does Keele need IP?

For the University it is one method of monitoring its level of research and collaboration activities and reflects upon the Institutes general level of technology and is a way of showing a return on that investment and is a key element of Government Enterprise and Knowledge Transfer Policy. Fundamentally it is also a method of securing investment and income streams to the inventors, departments and the University.

Successful management of IP provides the means by which individuals and institutions are able to protect their creative outputs from imitators. An understanding of IP is an increasingly important aspect of University and business life. Research and Enterprise Services (RES) has expertise in IP management and is responsible for managing the University IP portfolio.”

This is taken from the staff enterprise page but that is set up in the same manner as other student IP policies.

A full copy of the policy can be found here but after looking at the information on their website it seems as though it may soon be out of date.

Aston University

Finally for this post, I looked at Aston’s IP policy. This is available from this page as two separate downloadable documents.

Aston operates a policy of revenue sharing and its IP policy is similar to that of all other institutions I have looked at so far with the exception of Cardiff.

The relevant paragraph can be found in Regulation 4.3, the most important of which is 4.3.2:

“4.3.2 that they will assign to the University intellectual property created by them if:- it is created jointly with

(a) a university employee and Section 4.1 above applies;

(b) a postgraduate research student and Section below applies;

(c) any person covered by Section 4.2 above; or

(d) any person covered by 4.4 below; the intellectual property is created with the use of University facilities; or the intellectual property is created as part of the research carried out by a postgraduate student registered on a research-based course.

In return the student will become entitled to share in revenue as described in Schedule 1.”

In my next post I will be looking at the IP policies of Warwick, Birmingham, Worcester and Wolverhampton.

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