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West Virginia University is committed to fostering an environment that incentivizes the generation of intellectual property (IP) by its employees and students and appropriately compensating them financially for doing so.
Federal law requires patentable technologies developed under federally-funded contracts must be reported to the federal government. The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) maintains the IP portfolio for WVU by overseeing the government reporting, prosecution, issuance, maintenance, and commercialization of WVU IP. In accordance with the WVU IP policy, if the university has an ownership interest in IP, WVU inventors and authors are required to fully disclose the IP by submitting a disclosure form to the OTT and assigning their rights in the IP to the university promptly and before any public disclosure. For IP related to technology that may contain patentable subject matter, an invention disclosure form should be submitted by the inventors. For IP related to a creative, original (non-patentable) work, a copyright disclosure form should be submitted by the authors.
The following are general guidelines to help WVU employees and students determine if the university has an ownership interest in IP that they generate. These guidelines are intended to act as a basic summary and are not all-inclusive or without exception for certain circumstances. WVU employees and students should refer to BOG Governance Rule 1.5 – Intellectual Property Rule for Patent, Copyright, and Trademark Rights for the official WVU IP policy that provides further details.
In general, if WVU employees and/or students help conceive an invention either within the scope of university employment, within the scope of sponsored research, or through more than an incidental use of university resources, WVU owns the invention. Students retain the rights to the IP if the IP does not meet any of the aforementioned circumstances and the creation was either for a credited course or part of an extracurricular activity. Students that conceive and first reduce to practice patentable IP using a University Innovation Center retain the rights to the IP.
If WVU employees and/or students help author an original, creative (non-patentable) work, they typically own the work. However, the university retains the right to use the work. If WVU employees and students grant a third party an interest in the work, the third party may own the work and the university may pursue rights from the third party to use the work. If the work is created for institutional purposes in the course of university employment, but not directed to personal initiatives, the university owns the work. If the work is computer software developed either within the scope of university employment, within the scope of sponsored research, or through more than an incidental use of university resources, the university owns the work. Note that computer software created may be patentable technology, in which case an invention disclosure should be submitted to the OTT. Please consult the OTT for further guidance in these situations.
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