Intellectual Property

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What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is anything that you create while at university that may have monetary value. Typically this will apply to research.

According to QUT this includes any:

  • Copyright
    • Original tangible expressions in literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works; broadcasts; and computer programs.
    • Do not have to be registered.
  • Patents
    • Registered patents over new ideas, designs, inventions or business models.
  • Trademarks
    • Registered trademarks over letters, words, phrases, sounds, smells, shapes, logos, pictures, packaging or a combination of these, that distinguishes goods and services.
  • Circuit layouts
  • New plant varieties

Do I own my intellectual property or does the University?

Usually, you do. But in some circumstances you will need to assign your intellectual property rights to the University.

When do I need to assign my rights to the University?

Normally, if you want to continue in the project, you will need to assign your rights to the University where:

  1. The project is externally funded; or
  2. The project has clear commercialisation potential or objectives.

It is the duty of your research thesis supervisor or the relevant executive dean or institute director to identify if you need to assign your intellectual property rights.

If it is decided that you do, the University will contact you with an information pack. The University strongly encourages you to obtain independent legal advice about the nature and effect of the agreement. QUT will contribute up to $300.00 to the cost of legal advice.

What happens if I do assign my intellectual property rights?

It will mean that you will:

  • receive a share of net commercialisation revenues along with other contributors; and
  • have to observe any obligations of confidentiality in relation to the project.

So if you assign your rights to QUT, you don’t sign away all of them. Ownership rights, and therefore commercial revenue, will generally be granted in the following way:

  1. one third to all the contributors between them;
  2. one third to your faculty, division or institute; and
  3. one third to qutbluebox.

In exceptional circumstances, you may get more than this. Contact the Guild’s Student Rights Hub to see if this may apply to you.

If you do assign your rights, it will not:

  • extend to copyright in your thesis, i.e. you will retain copyright ownership of your thesis;
  • unreasonably impede you in submitting a thesis for examination and being able to complete the requirements for the award of a degree.

What if I choose not to assign my rights?

If you do not want to assign your intellectual property rights to the University, then you cannot continue with your project in its current form.

You will have to work with your supervisor to develop an alternative research program if possible, of equal academic merit, that does not have a commercial expectation. You also must be excluded from the current research project.

What if I don’t agree with the University’s decision in regards to intellectual property?

If you don’t agree with the University’s finding that your project contains assignable intellectual property, or you believe an outcome is harsh, you can appeal in writing to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation).

If you believe that you have been harshly treated in regard to an intellectual property decision then you can appeal the decision to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

If you don’t like the outcome of the first instance appeal, you can further appeal to the Vice Chancellor.

If you wish to appeal a decision, contact the Guild’s Student Rights Hub as soon as possible. We can help you write your appeal and liaise with the University.