Intellectual Property

The University of Tulsa is committed to assisting its faculty, staff and students with the transfer of technology and the development of intellectual property. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is involved in negotiating intellectual property provisions of externally funded research grants, oversees the prosecution of invention disclosures, coordinates and tracks patent applications, and supports the marketing and licensing of patents and other intellectual property on behalf of the University. Creators of intellectual property share in the recognition and rewards derived from these works.

The University of Tulsa recognizes the potential benefits of the intellectual capital of its faculty, staff and students – to society, to the University, to themselves. The University has established a high priority to realizing those benefits.

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.

(Taken from the World Intellectual Property Organization website at
http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/ )

Intellectual property can have substantial commercial value, especially if properly protected. Protecting intellectual property involves filing for copyrights, trademarks or patents. Non-disclosure agreements are common and important tools for protecting intellectual property. Public disclosure of intellectual property (in publications, presentations, or communication by other means can limit or render useless protections available for intellectual property.

Three common protections for intellectual property are

A.  Copyright protection involves the right to use a unique expression of an idea.  For further information, see www.lcweb.loc.gov/copyright.

B.  Trademark protection applies to a unique design, such as a logo or stylized presentation.  For further information see www.uspto.gov.

C.  Patent protection involves the right to use or market the invention of a product or process.  For further information see www.uspto.gov.

Who owns the Intellectual Property?

Patentable Inventions: Technical information, discoveries, inventions, computer algorithms and patents resulting from investigation or research conducted by employees or students of the University (a) which is financed in whole or in part from funds administered by the University or (b) as a direct result of an employee's duties or a student's academic pursuits with the University or (c) made in whole or in part by the utilization of University resources or facilities, are the property of the University and shall on request be assigned to the University or its designee, unless the University relinquishes its rights therein to the inventor.

Copyrighted material, educational material and computer programs that are not patentable are generally the property of the individual. For further information please see section I, Ownership of Intellectual Property of the Intellectual Property Policy.

How can Intellectual Property be protected?

The keys to protecting patentable intellectual property are timely disclosure and early involvement with the Chair of the University Intellectual Property Committee. Untimely disclosure of intellectual property through presentations and publications can cause the immediate loss of all international patents rights and generally gives the University and the inventor only one year to submit patent materials for US patents. If it is suspected that a body of research contains the elements of an invention, the Vice Provost for Research, Dr. Janet A. Haggerty, should be contacted before submission of papers for publication and before thesis or dissertation defenses or other public disclosures relating to the research are made to insure that our intellectual property rights are protected.

The University uses Non-Disclosure Agreements to protect intellectual property when sharing of such information is required for both internal and external disclosures. Such agreements are available and should be used whenever it is expected that inventions, in particular, may be developed in University activities, including class activities. You can seek additional information from Debbie Newton, Director, Research and Sponsored Programs.

The University Intellectual Property Committee makes decisions on the prosecution of intellectual property protection for inventions. Invention disclosures and discussions with inventors are used to decide whether the University pursues a patent or transfers ownership of the invention to the inventor(s). The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs assists inventors in the preparation of disclosures, patent applications and stands ready to answer questions concerning intellectual property and its protection.

How can I get help developing Intellectual Property?

Early involvement with the University is encouraged for the identification, protection and utilization of intellectual property. You are encouraged to contact

for any assistance concerning intellectual property.

More information

TU Resources

Procedures such as disclosure, approval, or legal pursuit is found under the Policies, Procedures, Guidelines for Sponsored Programs can be found here in the PPG section.

Click here for the form for disclosure of invention.

Here is the Statement on Policy and copyrights

See also:

Guide to Intellectual Property Resources by David Gay and Neal Axton in the TU College of Law.

External Resources

The EDUCAUSE policy - A source for information and advice on policy issues of information technology for higher education.

Copyright Crash Course - Guidance on using copyrighted material. 

The official US Patents and Trademarks Office web site is at:
http://www.uspto.gov/

The web site for the World Intellectual Property Organization is at:
http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/

See also http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/research/guides/patents.html at Oregon State.