Intellectual property policy discussed, vote next month

Kristin Gustafson

An intellectual property policy that would significantly update a 1986 University policy got a positive review Thursday from regents serving on the Educational Planning and Policy Committee.
The entire Board of Regents will vote on the issue next month.
Intellectual property can be any product — such as inventions, theories or course materials — developed at the University. The new policy will address federal requirements and the role universities should play in intellectual discovery.
“There’s been a lot of changes in the last 13 to 14 years,” said Christine Maziar, vice president of research and dean of the Graduate School. “I would say this is a much-needed updating.”
Working closely with many University groups, Maziar forged a policy that has received agreement from those affected.
The policy names the University as the sole owner of intellectual property created using University resources with some exceptions.
Consulting activities, sponsored research agreements and course requirements allow room for creator rights to the property. Income gained from the academic research or scholarly study is shared between the creator and the University.
Regular academic work — artistic creations or copyrightable work used to disseminate academic research or scholarly study such as books, course notes or sculptures — belong to the creator and not the University.
“The U wishes to confirm this connection,” Maziar said. “The most interesting part of our challenge here is blending our need to protect intellectual property with the traditional role of the University disseminating information that we can have as soon as possible.”
Other universities are trying to lay claim on traditional academic work product — especially tools used for distance education or the Internet.
“We felt this was misguided,” Maziar said.
The University wants to encourage faculty members to use technology, such as the Internet, to reach students. Claiming technology as University property would be a disincentive, Maziar said.
Once approved, the policy will help the University attract the “best and brightest,” Maziar said.

Kristin Gustafson covers University administration and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3211.