Intellectual property policy

Intent

The creation, preservation and effective utilisation of intellectual capital are key priorities for the University. This policy governs identification, ownership, management and exploitation of intellectual property created by RMIT University staff, students and visitors to the University.

Scope

This policy applies to all staff and students of RMIT University.

This policy also applies to:

  • All RMIT University staff who visit other organisations or institutions for collaboration or to perform research, teaching or similar activities
  • Intellectual property created through collaboration with other entities
  • Intellectual property generated through commercially-funded research, educational/curriculum development and consultancy undertaken on a contractual basis, and
  • All adjunct professors, emeritus professors, casual staff, Senior Associates, Associates, Visiting Professors, Professorial Fellows and other visitors to RMIT University while they engage in collaborative research, educational / curriculum development with RMIT staff or students, or while they utilize RMIT University resources or facilities for research, teaching and learning or other creative activities

Objectives

  • To encourage staff to be full contributors in activities which lead to the creation and transfer of new knowledge, whether this be through research, teaching and learning, or other creative endeavours
  • To ensure mechanisms exist which will encourage staff to bring to the attention of the University any intellectual property which has the potential for commercial development for the mutual benefit of the University, the inventor and government, commercial or other partners
  • To increase the involvement of students in research, the development of educational resources and other innovative activities
  • To strengthen the quality and quantity of intellectual property generated by RMIT staff and students as part of its goal to become a world class university
  • To provide a clear understanding of the rights and responsibilities of staff and students and to protect the interests of the University and its members
  • To assist external organisations and associations by providing clear processes for intellectual property exploitation and thus facilitate collaborative research and knowledge transfer between RMIT and commercial and community organisations
  • To outline the mechanisms which are relevant for commercialisation of intellectual property created by staff or students at RMIT, the role of the University and its commercial companies and the basis for the distribution of any income arising from commercialisation
  • To provide a means by which decisions concerning the ownership and development of intellectual property may be reviewed through the establishment and operation of expert and representative Intellectual Property Committee in accordance with applicable University Regulation.

RMIT Rationale for commercialisation

Commercialisation enables the creators of intellectual property to demonstrate the application and commercial value of their endeavours to the University’s partners, other organisations and the community at large.

The knowledge and expanded experience University staff and students gain from people and organisations outside the University system through commercialisation initiatives enriches their academic programs, and increases the intellectual capital of RMIT.

The financial rewards from successful commercialisation provide incentives for University staff and students to engage in real world activities, and generate a return to the University and its partners.

Policy provisions

Whole of organisation approach to intellectual property

RMIT will adopt a “whole of organisation” or enterprise-wide approach to the identification, management and commercialisation or other exploitation of its intellectual property.

Research and development intellectual property

General – research and innovation intellectual property

Any physical object embodying University intellectual property will be the property of the University.

The Intellectual Property Committee or its nominee advises the Vice-Chancellor in the administration of any right or interest of the University in any matter relating to the University's R&I intellectual property.

Proposals for collaborative research and development and similar activities involving other individuals or organisations require the approval of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation).

In any research, collaborative initiative with other organisations or commercialisation proposal, the University’s preferred position is for it to retain access to the R&I intellectual property through a royalty-free license or other arrangements that will enable the University to increase its intellectual capital and thereby enhance its academic programs, non-commercial research, etc.

The Research and Innovation Portfolio, in conjunction with its associated commercial companies (where applicable), will be responsible for the provisions in this policy related to R&I Intellectual Property.

The University will maintain a Register of R&I Intellectual Property.

The commercial development of any University R&I intellectual property will be decided by and must be negotiated by Research and Innovation Portfolio or one of its commercial companies created for this purpose.

Staff – research and innovation intellectual property

The University owns all R&I intellectual property created or developed by staff in the course of his or her duties.

The University owns R&I intellectual property created by adjunct professors, emeritus professors, casual staff and other visitors engaged in research or activities where the R&I intellectual property is created directly through their appointment or responsibilities at RMIT University, including through participation in research projects, collaboration with other staff, supervision of students of the University, or while they utilize RMIT University resources or facilities.

All University staff who are also students at the University, or who undertake educational programs or activities that may result in the creation of R&I intellectual property, must clearly delineate between R&I intellectual property they create as staff of RMIT and any R&I intellectual property they create through their activities as students, and reflect this in an agreement or assignment as appropriate.

The University claims a share of R&I intellectual property developed by visiting staff while working at the University, such share to be determined by the Intellectual Property Committee having regard to the funds, equipment, facilities or supervision provided by the University.

Subject to any established contractual issues or obligations, commercial confidentiality or any other constraint or limitation determined by RMIT as the owner of the R&I intellectual property, University staff do not need to seek explicit release from RMIT to publish that R&I intellectual property.

Students – research and innovation intellectual property

Subject to any employment relationship between the University and a student or any provision in this policy, any R&I intellectual property created solely by a student is owned by that student. Where a student contributes to the development of R&I intellectual property through research or other activities involving other students or members of staff or uses existing University intellectual property (background intellectual property), the moral rights of authorship of all those contributing to the creation of the intellectual property will be recognised in accordance with University policy

Where a student is involved in a project or specific commission in respect of which the University or any party to an agreement with the University has provided funds, equipment, facilities or supervision, the University may require the student to be a party to an intellectual property and/or confidentiality agreement before commencement.

The University may require that public access to a thesis be restricted for a specified period to enable the student, the University and any outside funding bodies to benefit commercially from the results of a research project.

In the event that the intellectual property in a student's work may be commercially viable, the University encourages the student to utilise the services of the relevant Portfolio or commercial company in assessing, protecting and prosecuting the commercial application of the intellectual property

Education and training intellectual property

General – education and training intellectual property

The Intellectual Property Committee or its nominee advises the Vice-Chancellor in the administration of any right or interest of the University in any matter relating to the University's education and training (or teaching and learning) intellectual property.

The Teaching and Learning Portfolio, in conjunction with its associated commercial companies (where applicable), will be responsible for the provisions in this policy related to education and training intellectual property.

Staff – education and training intellectual property

The University owns all education and training intellectual property created or developed by staff in the course of his or her duties.

In an Education and Training context this is construed to mean duties pursuant to the work specified in the contract of employment, position description and work plan. The University thus claims ownership of all intellectual property in course material, course material delivery systems and other work-related outputs, regardless of whether material is contained in traditional, digital or any other format.

While the University assigns ownership of intellectual property in respect of:

  • Personal notes, overheads and other materials which a staff member produces to assist with student learning
  • Commercially published books
  • Journal articles
  • Conference papers

to staff, the University retains a non-exclusive licence to use, reproduce and communicate to the public such intellectual property. This licence is irrevocable, royalty-free and world wide.

The University recognises that, increasingly, education and training intellectual property is developed using a collaborative team approach. Where more than one originator or creator combines their individual work, the University claims sole ownership of the resultant composite work. The University may grant a non-exclusive licence for the use of the composite work to its originators or creators.

All University staff who are also students at the University, or who undertake educational programs or activities that may result in the creation of education and training intellectual property as a result of their student activities, must clearly delineate between E&T intellectual property they create as staff of RMIT and any education and training intellectual property they create through their activities as students, and reflect this in an agreement or assignment as appropriate.

The University claims a share of education and training intellectual property developed by visiting staff while working at the University, such share to be determined by the Intellectual Property Committee having regard to the funds, equipment, facilities or supervision provided by the University.

Students – education and training intellectual property

Subject to any employment relationship between the University and a student or any provision under the following two paragraphs, any intellectual property created solely by a student is owned by that student.

Where a student contributes to the development of intellectual property through scholarship or other activities involving other students or members of staff or uses existing University intellectual property (background intellectual property), the moral rights of authorship of all those contributing to the creation of the intellectual property will be recognised in accordance with University policy.

Where a student is involved in a project or specific commission in respect of which the University or any party to an agreement with the University has provided funds, equipment, facilities or supervision, the University may require the student to be a party to an intellectual property and/or confidentiality agreement before commencement.

Academic integrity

RMIT upholds the values of academic integrity as fundamental to the scholarship undertaken by all members of its community and requires that all intellectual property produced by RMIT reflects honest and responsible scholarship that respects and acknowledges the work of others.

The University requires all intellectual property to be developed in full compliance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Copyright Act.

Moral rights of authors

The provisions of the Commonwealth Copyright Act relating to ownership of copyright and recognition of the moral rights of authors are University Policy.

Regardless of whether or not intellectual property is owned by the University, a staff member or a student, where a particular work has been authored by a staff member or student and is used for University purposes, authorship of the work by the staff member or student must be acknowledged.

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