Resources > Imperatives for Student IP Policy

Develop a CLEAR student IP policy
Fred Erbisch, retired Director of the Office of Intellectual Property at Michigan State University: ¹
  • A good IP policy removes gray areas, and spells out each player's stake, rights, and responsibilities.
  • A good policy addresses exactly who owns what, and how the IP office will return rights to the inventor if they decide not to take a product forward.
A clear policy allows a university to handle IP issues economically, efficiently, and produces less risk for IP disputes.
¹ Student Intellectual Property Issues on the Entrepreneurial Campus
Announce & disseminate
student IP policy and protocols
Association of University Technology Managers has the following suggestions:²

Posting it:
  • on school or departmental websites
  • in newspapers and other publications
  • on departmental and dorm bulletin boards.
Having it read:
  • by faculty in classes;
  • by administrators during orientation and other periodic check-in events;
  • on the radio or TV on campus stations;
  • in student governance and club sessions.
Making it required reading:
  • in student orientation booklets;
  • in handouts for classes that include research projects;
  • in consent forms for participating in internships, co-ops, lab and teaching assistantships, fellowships, and other work or practical experience programs.
² Managing Student Intellectual Property Issues at Institutions of Higher Education: An AUTM Primer (2014)
Establish an office or program
responsible for student IP
Innovation Commons at CityU is a good model that offers one-stop support to student innovation and related issues, such as IP issues.
Designate and empower a person to
make decisions regarding student IP
  • A single program officer should be identified who can make decisions when problems arise
  • This person should explicitly be given the authority to represent the university in IP decisions
Values of student IP policy
  • As a good policy can never cover all circumstances, values and principles behind the policy can help settle the mentioned cases.
  • In new cases not addressed by existing policies, it helps to document the value and principle, to guide the interpretation
  • Institutions must make decisions on a range of values and principles; for example, does the university trust professors and students to make initial, low-level decisions about IP or do they promote the idea that whenever IP issues arise professors and students must engage a standard institutional protocol? (Cf. the different ways one can handle plagiarism)