1. Initiation by Creator(s)
In accord with the IP Policy, the creator(s) shall initiate the determination of ownership and rights to copyrightable material in a written statement to the WSU Patent Officer. In the disclosure statement, the creator(s) will declare that copyrightable material has been developed, describe the nature and potential of the material, outline the use of University equipment, facilities, and other support in the development of the material, and identify parties who contributed to the development and to what extent. If copyrightable material is commissioned by the University under a contract for a specific project, ownership rights of the University must be stipulated in the contract, and a copy must be provided to the Patent Officer at the time of execution of the contract.
2. Determination of Ownership
(a) If the creator(s) and the Patent Officer agree that the intellectual property is not a work-for-hire and the University did not provide “significant use” in the development of the copyrightable material, as defined in the IP Policy, and that the creator(s) are clearly the owner(s) of the rights to the material, then the Patent Officer will provide the creator(s) with a written statement to that effect within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of materials from the creator(s). Creator(s) may then copyright the material in their name(s) and market or license the material, or they may negotiate with the Patent Officer in seeking University support to develop the material for commercial use and in seeking copyright registration in the name of the University. If a determination of ownership and a division of net royalties cannot be made in this time frame, then the statement submitted by the creator(s) and any unresolved questions about it will be sent to the Faculty Support Committee (hereinafter “FSC”).
(b) If the significance of University support is unclear, in dispute, or clearly known to have occurred, the FSC will review the application and determine: (1) whether the University provided significant use of University support in the development of the material, (2) which faculty, staff, and students participated in the development and the extent of their contribution, and (3) a fair division of the net royalties should any result. The FSC will prepare a report of its findings and recommendations, and will provide copies to the Patent Officer and all identified participants in the development of the copyrightable material. This review process should normally be completed within forty-five (45) calendar days, but the committee can request an extension from the Patent Officer of thirty (30) days.
(c) If it is determined by the FSC that the University did not provide significant use of support and that the creator(s) is (are) clearly the owner(s) of the rights to the material, then the Patent Officer will issue a written statement to that effect to all parties within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the report from the FSC.
3. Copyrightable Material Evaluation
(a) If it is determined that the University has ownership rights, or if the creator(s) request, then the Patent Officer may enter into an evaluation of the copyrightable material and a copyright assignment agreement with an organization created for the purpose of developing, marketing, and licensing intellectual property (hereinafter “the Organization”). The cost of this evaluation will be borne by the University or the Organization. Normally, this process will take up to ninety (90) days, but is subject to the terms of agreement with the Organization. The Patent Officer will inform the creator(s) of the status of pending evaluation agreements in a timely manner.
(b) If it is decided that the University does not have an ownership claim, or does have a claim but elects not to pursue a copyright, the inventor(s) may still request that the University have the material evaluated and file for the copyright if the evaluation indicates the material has commercial viability. In these cases, the creator(s) and the University can negotiate an agreeable distribution of royalties.
(c) The Patent Officer will review the evaluation made by the Organization and determine whether an agreement with the Organization should be made. The Patent Officer is free to consult with any internal or external parties in this decision. This review process should not take more than fifteen (15) working days. The Patent Officer will inform the creator(s) of the decision and the rationale for it. Appropriate confidentiality will be maintained. The University is under no obligation to pursue a particular copyright.
Should a copyright be issued and the material be marketed or licensed, the University must recoup its investment in the material before any royalties are distributed to the creator(s). The resulting net royalties shall be distributed on a regular basis to the University and the creator(s), at least once a year. If there is more than one creator, the University shall disburse the creators’ share in proportion to the relative extent that each creator contributed to the development of the material as determined by the FSC. In addition, the University will provide the creator(s) with information on the use of the material, sales resulting from the use, and the payments of the appropriate share of the actual revenue.
April 5, 2001