Southern Polytechnic State University
Policy and Procedure Manual
P&P Number:  603.0
Original Date: June 2000
Previous Revisions: None
Approved: January 22, 2003
Intellectual Property

Contents This P&P includes the following main sections:
  • Background
  • Definitions
  • Agreement concerning intellectual property
  • Institutional procedures
  • Trademarks

Background The purpose of this policy and procedure is to establish guidelines governing intellectual property created at Southern Polytechnic State University by faculty, staff, and students. These guidelines address the rights of the University as well as those of the faculty, staff, and students.

Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU), as a campus of the University System of Georgia (University System), is dedicated to teaching, research, and the extension of knowledge to the public. Inherent in this activity is the need to encourage scholarly creativity--the development of new and useful devices and processes, the publication of scholarly works, and the development of computer software. Such activities are central to the students, faculty, staff, and the University as a whole, as well as being critical to the general welfare of the State of Georgia. It is necessary, therefore, to ensure the use of such scholarly creativity for the public good and to expedite its development and marketing.

The rights and privileges, as well as the incentive, of the inventor or creator must be preserved so that his or her abilities and those of other faculty, staff or students of colleges and universities of the University System may be further encouraged and stimulated.

Definitions The Southern Polytechnic Policy and Procedure follows the definitions of the corresponding Board of Regents Policy.  Refer to that policy for definitions (section 603.02).

A written agreement must be in place for every project at Southern Polytechnic that produces intellectual property with commercial value. This agreement will be made between Southern Polytechnic and the creator(s).
  • At the minimum, the agreement will define the creator(s)' share of revenue.
  • This agreement must be in place at the time that the administration approves commencement of project work, and preferably will be in place at the time of the project proposal.
  • Such agreements must protect the creator(s)' academic freedom and must not interfere with creator(s)' right to develop and claim full ownership of derivative works as appropriate.
  • Such agreements can be changed and amended if required upon the mutual approval of the creator(s) and his/her vice president or president as is appropriate.
In the case of collaborative creation, the rights and revenue split among the creator(s) shall be established in a written agreement made at the project outset. This agreement must be filed with the written agreement between the collaborating creators and Southern Polytechnic concerning the main allocation of rights and revenue.
To ensure such agreements are in place, it is expected that all appropriate students, faculty, staff, and administration shall review and report on at least a yearly basis their status on projects/activities producing intellectual property with potential commercial value. Reporting shall be through the immediate administrator to the Southern Polytechnic Intellectual Property Advisory Committee, who will serve the president on these matters.
The types of projects associated with intellectual property are as follows:
Sponsor-Supported Efforts
"Sponsor-supported efforts" shall include all research or creative effort supported by a grant or contract between Southern Polytechnic State University and an agency of federal, state, or local government, or a non-profit or for-profit non-governmental entity.
  • In cases where a grant or contract between the sponsor and Southern Polytechnic contains specific provisions with respect to disposition of rights to these materials, these will be followed.
  • In those cases where property rights and/or royalty income is realized by Southern Polytechnic, the University shall offer to share these rights and revenues with the creator(s) under the plan described below.
Institution-Assigned Efforts
"Institution-assigned efforts" are creative efforts that are related to the normal job responsibilities of employees who were employed specifically to produce a particular intellectual property, or that are specifically assigned by the University or University System.
  • Ownership of intellectual property developed as a result of assigned institutional effort resides with Southern Polytechnic; however, royalty income can be shared with the inventor or creator according to the plan below as an incentive to encourage further development of intellectual property.
  • This policy and procedure distinguishes between those efforts that are a part of an individual's customary job responsibilities, especially as specified in applicable hiring documents and job descriptions, and efforts that result from work above and beyond those customary responsibilities.
    • In the case of work beyond the customary, the resulting intellectual property shall not be considered the result of institution-assigned effort.
    • Materials produced as a result of an individual's customary job responsibilities may not be copyrighted or patented by the creator(s) without written permission from Southern Polytechnic.
  • This policy and procedure document  names the following as examples of institution-assigned efforts: course syllabi, memos, departmental and committee minutes and reports, and final exams.
  • This policy and procedure names the following as examples of products that are not institution-assigned efforts: course lecture notes, textbooks, or course supplemental materials in any format including paper, electronic, and web pages. 
Institution-Assisted Individual Effort
Ownership of intellectual property developed by Southern Polytechnic's faculty, staff or students where the institution provides support of their efforts or use of institution resources in more than a purely incidental way potentially shall be shared by the creator(s) and Southern Polytechnic according to the plan below:
  • As a general guideline, it is expected that institutional resources valued at up to $5,000 per year per creator shall be considered purely incidental. Examples of University support beyond that which is "purely incidental" includes specific projects involving reassigned time, an institutional grant, or other special funding. In such cases, the University must declare its interest in the institution-assisted intellectual property within the specific project agreement with the creator(s).
  • This policy and procedure names the following as an example of institution-assisted efforts: products developed during reassigned time where funding for the reassigned time is provided by Southern Polytechnic. 
Individual Effort
Ownership rights to intellectual property developed by faculty, staff or students of the institution shall reside with the inventor or creator of such intellectual property provided that:
  • There is no use, except in a purely incidental way, of institution resources in the creation of such intellectual property (unless such resources are available without charge to the public).
  • The intellectual property is not prepared in accordance with the terms of an institution contract or grant.
  • The intellectual property is not developed by faculty, staff or students as a specific institution assignment. The general obligation to produce scholarly and creative works does not constitute a specific assignment for this purpose
This policy and procedure names the following as examples of individual efforts: textbooks, consulting reports, and materials developed under contract to an organization outside of the University.
Other Efforts
  • Ownership rights to intellectual property developed under any circumstances other than those listed in Section III A-D of this policy shall be determined on an individual basis and approved by the Southern Polytechnic president or his or her designated representative.
  • The nature and extent of inventor or creator participation in rights and revenue, however, shall be subject to institution regulations.
  • A written agreement must be put in place concerning ownership of rights and sharing in revenue at the outset of those efforts.
Student Efforts
  • In the normal case, ownership rights and royalty shares to the intellectual property developed by students in class work or paid work (e.g., as an assistant) shall be determined by the policy and procedure set under "Institution-Assigned Efforts," as described in Section IIIB above. This policy shall be published, at least in the University catalog, and preferably in each appropriate course syllabus.
  • Recognizing the diversity of a polytechnic university, the policy governing student efforts might be changed to reflect a special situation. For example, a student or class project might be sponsored by an external organization.
  • In the cases where a student works under a policy other than normal, the student and the sponsoring faculty member shall report in writing which governing policy applies.
    • It must be one of the categories of efforts defined above in sections 1 through 4 above.
    • The report is made to the Intellectual Property Advisory Committee through the respective deans.
    • The dean might request justification for the change from the student, and might also recommend to the Intellectual Property Advisory Committee that the change not be approved.
    • In the normal case the deanís signature on the report indicates concurrence with the requested change in classification.
  • It is recommended that each school receive a written confirmation of student awareness of the intellectual property policy upon admission to the University, and thereafter on an annual basis.

  1. The president shall appoint an Intellectual Property Advisory Committee consisting of seven full-time faculty members and one representative from the Office of Business and Finance.
    • There shall be one representative from each of the four schools, one from the library, and two at-large members representing the Faculty Senate.
    • The president shall solicit one nomination each from each school deans, one from the Library director, two from the moderator of the Faculty Senate, and one from the vice president for business and finance.
    • To maintain the committee composition described above, a member resigning before the end of his/her term must be replaced by an individual nominated from the same unit as the resigning member and appointed by the president to serve the remainder of the unexpired term.
  2. Each member of the committee shall be appointed for an initial four-year term, with no limit on the number of terms a member may serve. Terms shall be staggered, so that two terms shall expire each year. To ensure continuity, each of the original members of the committee shall serve an initial four-year term, then be re-appointed for one, two, three, or four years.
  3. The president shall designate one of the seven faculty members on the committee to serve as chairperson for the remainder of that member's current term, or such shorter period as the president desires.



    To maintain continuity, it is recommended that the member appointed committee chair shall have served on the committee for at least one year previous to appointment as chair.

  5. The committee shall meet as necessary, and shall act in an advisory capacity to the president or his/her designee.
  6. Faculty, staff and students shall promptly report to the committee in writing, through the appropriate channels, all intellectual property invented or created by them which is reasonably likely to have commercial value.
  7. The committee shall report on a regular basis to the president and the Faculty Senate on any intellectual property activities or developments. 
  1. The Intellectual Property Advisory Committee shall recommend to the president or his or her designee the rights and equities in intellectual property including but not limited to patents, copyrights, and software created by faculty, staff or students of the institution.
  2. In the event of a disagreement as to the ownership and use of such materials, the president shall appoint an appeal board of not less than three and not more than five individuals to hear the appeal.
    • Membership on the appeal board can be from inside or outside the University.
    • The president shall be able to consider requests from the appealing parties and also be able to consult with appropriate members of the University System of Georgia staff in appointing the appeal board.
    • The ruling of the appeal board shall be advisory to the president, who will make the final decision; the presidentís decision may be appealed to the Board of Regents (Board of Regents Bylaws, VIII).
In the implementation of this P&P SPSU may elect, through its intellectual property committee and with the approval of the president, any of the following courses:
  1. To develop and manage its licensing program through an independent assistance organization so as to secure competent evaluation of intellectual property, expeditious filing of applications for patents, or other protection and aggressive licensing and administration of intellectual property; or
  2. To develop and manage its licensing program through an affiliated nonprofit corporation such as the Georgia State University Research Foundation, Inc., the Georgia Tech Research Corporation or other nonprofit organizations established for this purpose; or
  3. To develop and manage independently its own licensing program; or
  4. To release intellectual property to which the institution has title or an interest to the inventor or creator for management and development as a private venture after the execution of an agreement providing for a suitable division of royalty income. 
The Intellectual Property Advisory Committee shall review this policy and procedure at least twice a year. Potential changes shall be recommended to the president and the Faculty Senate.

The following plan shall be used to determine ownership and royalty revenue share:
Type of Intellectual Property Creator(s)' Ownership Rights Creator(s)' Share of Annual Gross Royalty Revenues
Sponsor- Supported If Southern Polytechnic receives rights from the sponsor, the creator(s) shall be offered at least 50% of ownership, and agree to assume an equal percentage of the ownership costs (regardless of the property's revenue).
  • The entire first $10,000.
  • At least 50% of royalties beyond the first $10,000.
Institution- Assigned None
  • The entire first $10,000.
  • At least 50% of royalties beyond the first $10,000.
Institution- Assisted The creator(s) shall be offered at least 50% of ownership, and agree to assume an equal percentage of the ownership costs (regardless of the property's revenue).
  • The entire first $10,000.
  • At least 50% of royalties beyond the first $10,000.
Individual Effort 100% of ownership and costs 100%
Other Case-by-case basis Case-by-case basis
Student Plan 1-4 as designated Plan 1-4 as designated

  • All trademarks arising out of research by institutions of the University System of Georgia constitute property of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and applications for registration, use of and licensing of such trademarks shall be governed by the policies of the Board.
  • Trademarks arising out of research done by Southern Polytechnic State University pursuant to an agreement with a cooperative organization shall be the property of such cooperative organization and such organization may file all appropriate applications and other documents necessary to protect such trademarks and may exercise all other rights consistent with ownership of the trademarks.