Attention: Please refer to the PDF version of the Bulletin for most accurate information and definitions.

3.5.3. Policy on Intellectual Property Rights


Oglethorpe University believes that the public interest is best served by creating an intellectual environment whereby creative efforts and innovations can be encouraged and rewarded, while still retaining for the University and its learning communities reasonable access to, and use of, the intellectual property for whose creation the University has provided assistance.

The University supports the development, production, and dissemination of intellectual property by its faculty members, staff and students.


When used in this policy, the term “Copyright” shall be understood to mean that bundle of rights that protect original “Works of Authorship” fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. “Works of Authorship” (including computer programs) include, but are not limited to the following: literary works; musical works, including any accompanying words; dramatic works, including any accompanying music; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works (photographs, prints, diagrams, models, and technical drawings); motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and architectural works. “Tangible Media” include, but are not limited to, books, periodicals, manuscripts, phonograph records, films, tapes, and disks.

When used in this policy, the term “Patent” shall be understood to mean that bundle of rights that protect inventions or discoveries which constitute any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof; new and ornamental designs for any useful article and plant patents being for the asexual reproduction of a distinct variety of plant, including cultivated sprouts, mutants, hybrids, and new found seedlings, other than a tuber propagated plant or plant found in an uncultivated state.

When used in this policy, the term “Intellectual Property” shall include Copyright and Patent.

Ownership of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property created, made, or originated by a faculty member shall be the sole and exclusive property of the faculty author or inventor except as otherwise provided in this policy.

The University shall own Intellectual Property only in the following circumstances:

  1. The University expressly directs a faculty member to create a specified work, or the work is created as a specific requirement of employment or as an assigned institutional duty that may, for example, be included in a written job description or an employment agreement.
  2. The faculty author or inventor voluntarily transfers the Intellectual Property, in whole or in part, to the University. Such transfer shall be in the form of a written document signed by the faculty author or inventor.
  3. The University contributes to a “joint work” under the Copyright Act. The institution can exercise joint ownership under this clause when it has contributed specialized services and facilities to the production of the work that goes beyond what is traditionally provided to faculty members generally in the preparation of their course materials. Such arrangement is to be agreed to in writing, in advance, and in full conformance with other provisions of this policy. The granting of sabbaticals, junior leaves and professional development grants by the University shall not constitute grounds for “joint work” unless specified by the University in the terms of the sabbatical, leave or grant.
  4. The Intellectual Property results from externally funded research where ownership by the University conforms to the requirements of the funding agency. Except as otherwise provided, Intellectual Property created, made, or originated by a student shall be the sole and exclusive property of the student author or inventor, except as he or she may voluntarily choose to transfer such property, in full or in part, or as provided in any agreement with an external funding source. The University shall own the copyright or patent in the case that the work was created by a student acting as an employee of the University and working on a project as part of responsibilities as an employee or when a student is assisting a faculty member on a project designated as joint work. Intellectual Property created, made, or originated by a staff member in connection with his or her required job duties shall be the sole and exclusive property of the University. The staff member shall own Copyright of works and Patents of inventions created apart from his or her designated job responsibilities or as part of professional development activities apart from designated work tasks except as otherwise provided.

Use of Intellectual Property

Material created for ordinary teaching use in the classroom and in department programs, such as syllabi, assignments and tests, shall remain the property of the faculty author, but the University shall be permitted to use such material for internal instructional, educational, and administrative purposes, including satisfying requests of accreditation agencies for faculty-authored syllabi and course description.

In any agreement transferring copyright for such works to a publisher, faculty authors are expected to preserve the rights for the institution to use such works for internal instructional, educational, and administrative purposes.

Work created by students in connection with course assignments or in response to surveys administered by the University shall be available for the University to use for internal instructional, educational, and administrative purposes, including the assessment of student learning outcomes.

Distribution of any Funds Generated

Funds received by the student, faculty or staff member from the sale of Intellectual Property owned by that author or inventor shall be allocated and expended as determined solely by that author or inventor.

Funds received by the University from the sale of intellectual property owned by the University shall be allocated and expended in accord with any applicable laws or agreements as determined solely by the University.

Funds received by a faculty member or student and the University from the sale of Intellectual Property owned jointly by the faculty member or student and the University shall be divided equally between the faculty member or student and the University unless a different agreement was entered into when the work was first undertaken.

In the event of multiple creators, the creators will determine the allocation of their individual shares when the work is first undertaken.

Resolution of Emerging Issues and Disputes

The president’s cabinet shall monitor and review technological and legislative changes affecting intellectual property policy and shall report to relevant faculty and administrative bodies, when such changes affect existing policies.

The president’s cabinet shall serve as a forum for the receipt and discussion of proposals to change existing institutional policy.

Disputes over ownership, and its attendant rights, of intellectual property will be decided by the president of the University. Should a dispute arise, the president shall call into session a committee formed by three faculty members elected by faculty council, the director of information technology, and the vice president for business and finance who shall chair the committee. The committee shall make an initial determination of whether the University or any other party has rights to the invention or other creation, and, if so, the basis and extent of those rights. The committee shall also make a determination on resolving competing faculty, student or staff claims to ownership when the parties cannot reach an agreement on their own. The committee shall make recommendation to the president who shall make the final determination.