Increasingly, Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer are matters of importance to colleges and universities. This is because of their potential for contributing to the social good and advancing the state of knowledge; the possibility of generating income through innovative inventions; and the awareness that these matters may raise questions of actual or perceived conflict of interest. For all of these reasons, most colleges and universities have written policies that govern requirements and procedures related to Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer.
The term "intellectual property" refers to inventions, and the patents and copyrights that reserve rights to them. The term "technology transfer" refers to the commercialization of such intellectual property. The term "inventions" will be used to include inventions, creations, new processes, innovations, etc. The term "inventor" signifies the individual(s) who invents, creates, authors, innovates, etc. with respect to inventions.
The Connecticut College Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Policy has been developed to reflect the unique culture of the College, a culture characterized by ongoing support by the institution for the professional development of constituent individuals and, reciprocally, ongoing contributions by individual members of the academic community to the health and well-being of the institution. In the past, at many institutions of higher education across the nation, inventions developed within the scope of the inventor's employment have been owned by the institution, and the ownership of literary, artistic, and scholarly works have rested with the creator (unless they are generated within the scope of the creator's employment, commissioned by the institution, or subject to a sponsoring agency's agreement as approved by the institution). However, new technologies, including those involving computer software and hardware, and significant, new investments in state of the art equipment by many institutions of higher education, including Connecticut College, have necessitated a reexamination of intellectual property and technology transfer issues. Thus, reflecting a nation-wide trend, the emphasis of this policy is not whether the invention is patentable or copyrightable, but rather, an equitable determination of ownership and reward. Such determination will be based upon the level of contribution(s) of the parties, with the understanding that this policy is not meant to reverse the traditional ownership of for example, a poem, scholarly work, or painting by the creator.
The objective is to promote the creativity of the entire College community and to reflect the actual contributions of inventor(s) and the institution in determinations of the rights of ownership, use, and the distribution of equity interests.
The policy applies to all full- and part-time faculty members, administrative officers, staff members, and students engaged in teaching, research, study, or other forms of activity within the College or in connection with any College program. Individuals who are not employees or students of the College will be required to assign patent rights to the College, or execute an agreement covering patent rights, before being permitted to use facilities, equipment, or employee or student time, or to process grants through the College.
B. Procedure with Respect to Patents and Copyrights
The development of a work of intellectual property, including computer software or hardware, of seemingly patentable or copyrightable nature should be reported fully and in writing, at the earliest time possible, to the Dean of the faculty. S/he promptly will consult with the inventor in considering all aspects of the invention, including but not limited to the extent to which College resources have been used; and in determining issues of ownership, patent and copyright, technology transfer, and the distribution of potential proceeds. It is anticipated that in most cases a swift and amicable agreement will be reached.
Should such an agreement not be reached, an ad-hoc committee comprised of one individual selected by the Dean of the Faculty, one individual selected by the inventor, and one individual agreed to by both parties, will be appointed. Committee members will have knowledge about the particular field and/or intellectual property issues and will have no personal interest in the matter at hand. It will be the function of the committee to review the circumstances attending the invention, including the prior investment of College resources, and make recommendation to the Dean of the Faculty for final decision.
All considerations and recommendations with regards to intellectual property issues as noted above, in situations that do not involve prior agreements with government agencies or private sponsors, shall be informed by the following categorical guidelines:
Category I-In cases where no use has been made of College facilities, equipment, or employee and/or student time; or in traditional cases involving, for example, the creation of a poem, scholarly work, or painting, the college will have no claim of equity. In cases where it applies, the inventor is at liberty to pursue patent negotiations independently. However, in such cases the name of the College may not be used in connection with inventions in which the College has no equity interest without prior written permission.
Category II-In cases of normal use of College facilities, equipment, or employee and/or student time devoted to the development of the invention the College will be deemed to have a 40% of gross equity interest in the invention.
Category III-In cases of significantly above normal use of College facilities, equipment, or employee and/or student time or College contributions, including additional salary, devoted to the development of the invention the College will be deemed to have a 60% of gross equity interest in the invention.
To assist in determination such as those indicated above, the inventor(s) may wish to maintain a diary noting actual date, time and usage of institutional resources.
C. Exploitation and Administration of Inventions
With regards to inventions that the Dean of the Faculty concludes fall into Categories II or III above, by mutual agreement with the inventor the College may submit the invention to the not-for-profit Research Corporation Technologies of Tucson, Arizona for review, analysis and, potentially, marketing of the invention. If assignment of the invention is acceptable to Research Corporation, it will file and prosecute patent applications and commercialize the invention through licensing of the patent rights, bearing all normal costs in accordance with its agreement with the College. In such cases the income returned shall be divided between the inventor and the College in accordance with the category determined above.
If Research Corporation does not choose to accept assignment, or the inventor and the College to not agree to submit the invention to Research Corporation, the College and the inventor may discuss whether either party, or both parties together, should market the invention. In such cases the party assuming start-up costs for the prosecution and commercialization of the invention, will recover such costs. After recovery of those initial costs any income shall be divided between the inventor and the College in accordance with the category determined above.
At all of the decision-making points as outlined above, decisions by both the inventor and the College must be made in a prompt and timely manner and communicated completely, in writing, to the other party.
D. Priority of Claims by Government Agencies and Private Sponsors
In the event that a grant or contract from a government agency or private sponsor contains provisions for the disposition of the rights to invention, those provisions must prevail and the College must carry out its commitments under the terms of such grants and contracts.
Through its Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Policy, Connecticut College has positioned itself to be a supportive partner to all those covered by the policy. As in similar matters, the College encourages individuals to err on the side of disclosure for the protection of both the College and the individual.