Troy University
SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation
3.2.14 The institution’s policies are clear concerning ownership of materials, compensation, copyright issues, and the use of revenue derived from the creation and production of all intellectual property. These policies apply to students, faculty, and staff. (Intellectual property rights)
X Compliance   Partial Compliance   Non-Compliance


Troy University is in compliance with this Comprehensive Standard. The University has clear policies regarding intellectual property rights for faculty, students and staff.


Institutional policy with respect to faculty intellectual property is described in the Faculty Handbook, Section 1.6.10 that covers patent policy, definitions, equity and proceeds.

1.6.10 Patent Policy

The objectives of the patent policy are to encourage and support research at Troy University, to provide financial compensation as well as professional recognition to inventors, and to best serve the public interest. To these ends, this policy encourages disclosure of inventions and discoveries and their evaluation for possible patenting and licensing and establishes criteria for determining the rights of the inventor and the University. Scholarly publication of the results of faculty and student research is strongly encouraged.

A. Definitions

The patent policy defines "inventions" and "discoveries" in U.S. Patent Office terminology:

  • Processes, machines, compositions of matter, and other articles of manufacture, including new methods, etc.
  • Design.
  • Plants, asexually and sexually reproduced (with some exceptions).

Inventions include:

  • The mental act of conception.
    Reduction to practice.

Unpatentable subject matter includes:

  • Discovery of natural phenomena.
  • Products of nature.
  • Mere ideas or concepts.
  • Inventions relating to nuclear weapons.

B. Equity

The equity of the inventor or inventors in a patent shall be largely determined by the source of funding for the research which led to the invention or discovery:

University-Funded Research: The inventor or inventors share in the net proceeds from a patent as indicated in Item C, with all patent costs paid by the University and recouped from the proceeds.

Personal Research: The inventor or inventors may, if no significant use of University facilities is involved, obtain and retain full rights to a patent, or they may elect to assign the invention or discovery to the University for handling as University-funded research.

Government-Funded or Industry-Funded Research: The inventor or inventors share as specified in the contract or grant.

Extramural Consulting-Funded Research: The inventor or inventors share in the rights to a patent in accordance with the specific extramural consulting agreement unless approval for extramural consulting was not obtained and/or substantial use of University facilities was involved.

C. Proceeds

The inventor or inventors will receive 50 percent of the first $100,000 of net royalty; 40 percent of the second $120,000; and 30 percent of all net royalty income in excess of $200,000. The formula for determining net royalty income is as follows:

  1. All out-of-pocket University expenses for obtaining, defending, and marketing the patent will be recovered.
  2. A 15 percent administrative fee will be charged to provide resources to encourage invention disclosures and to process them in a timely fashion and to complement the transfer and commercial development of discoveries and inventions. The inventor or inventors are required to execute promptly all contracts, assignments, waivers, or other legal documents which the University determines to be essential to obtain a patent.

The inventor or inventors may not sign patent agreements with outside persons or organizations which may abrogate the University's rights and interests as stated in this policy or which otherwise conflict with this policy; neither may the inventor or inventors without prior authorization use the name of Troy University in connection with any invention.

The University is required to consider promptly any disclosure of an invention or discovery and determine within six months of notification exactly what action it plans; otherwise, the inventor or inventors may request and obtain the rights to the invention or discovery for subsequent patenting on their own, unless prohibited by the provisions of an applicable grant or contract.

The University shall retain the right to determine how and for what consideration any patent rights assigned to the University shall be used.

SPECIAL NOTE: In the United States, a patent on an invention or discovery must be applied for within one year of the first publication disclosing an invention or discovery; in some foreign nations, a patent application must be submitted to the proper authority prior to such a publication.

An inventor or inventors who wish to pursue a patent should inform in writing the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost who, in turn, will work with the office of the University attorney and the Office of Special Programs to initiate the procedure outlined above.

Section 1.6.11 of the Faculty Handbook discusses copyright policy: ownership by category of work, revenue sharing for non-contracted work, and definitions.

1.6.11 Copyright Policy

Copyrights resulting from aesthetic, scholarly, or other work developed through independent efforts and not part of a directed University assignment shall reside with the originator. Independent effort is defined as the product of inquiry, investigation, or research to advance truth, knowledge, or the arts where the specific choice, content, course, and direction of the effort is determined by an individual without assignment or supervision by the University. All rights in copyright for all other works arising from the use of University resources, whether directed or commissioned or contractually determined, shall belong to the University. The Chancellor and his/her designated representatives are authorized to enter into agreements with respect to ownership, licensure, disposition of royalty income, resolution of disputes, and other rights related to copyrights under their respective jurisdictions. They are authorized to register copyrights, accept copyrights from third parties, and to sell or grant licenses or assignments in the name of the University for any rights to copyrights under their jurisdiction.


  1. Scholarly/Aesthetic. In keeping with traditional academic practice, ownership of copyrights to scholarly or aesthetic works which are prepared through independent effort and not part of a directed assignment shall reside with the originator, except as otherwise provided in the policy. The general obligation of a faculty member to produce scholarly work does not constitute a directed assignment.
  2. Personal. The copyright to any work which is prepared outside the scope of employment and without the use of University resources by an employee shall be the sole property of the employee.
  3. Sponsored/Contracted. The University asserts its right to copyrightable works created under sponsorship or contract. Copyright ownership of sponsored works and contracted works shall be governed by such agreements or contracts. Any sponsored work agreement which provides for ownership by other than the University shall also provide the University with a free-of-cost, non-exclusive, world-wide license to use and reproduce the copyrighted work for research and education purposes, except where prohibited by law or government regulation.
  4. Commissioned. When the University commissions the production of a work, title normally resides with the University. In all cases, copyright ownership shall be specified in the written contract. Any commissioned work agreement which provides for ownership by other than the University, shall also provide the University with a free-of-cost, non-exclusive, world-wide license to use and reproduce the copyrighted work for research and education purposes, except where prohibited by law or government regulation.
  5. Acquired by Assignment or Will. The University may acquire copyrights by assignment or will pursuant to the terms of the written agreement or testament.


The University may assign or license its copyrights to others. The University shall share with the originator(s) revenue which it receives through copyrights. Specific provisions of grants or contracts may govern rights and revenue distribution. Consequently, revenues received from such copyrights may be exclusive of payments or royalty shares to donors or contractors. Moreover, the University may contract with external organizations or individuals to obtain, manage, and defend copyrights. Any royalty shares or expenses contractually committed to such organizations or individuals shall be deducted before revenues accrue and prior to the originator's share being distributed. The revenues (net, as defined in the preceding paragraph) received from a copyright will be applied first to reimburse the University for any specific, incremental expenses incurred by generating the copyright, and in marketing, licensing, and defending the rights. After provision for such expenses, such revenues shall be shared as follows:

  1. The first $5,000 will be paid to the originator(s).
  2. Thereafter, the originator(s) shall receive 75 percent of such revenues.

Applicable laws, regulations or provisions of grants or contracts may, however, require that a lesser share be paid to the originator(s). Faculty members and other employees who wish to acquire or assign copyrights should inform in writing the office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost who, in turn, will work with the office of the University attorney and the Office of Sponsored Programs to initiate the process.


The definitions applicable to this policy are listed below:

  1. Aesthetic Work: A work that is a result of original artistic expression.
  2. Commissioned Work: A work produced for the University by others pursuant to a contract at the institution's expense.
  3. Contracted Work: Work produced by and for others at the others' expense, using University facilities pursuant to a contract.
  4. Copyright: The intangible property right granted by statute providing the owner the following exclusive rights over a work: to reproduce, to prepare derivative works, to distribute, to perform publicly, and to display publicly.
  5. Direct University Assignment: Any written or oral instruction or task assigned to an originator.
  6. License: A contract in which a copyright owner grants permission to exercise one or more of the rights under copyright.
  7. Originator: Any person who produces a work by his/her own intellectual effort, including student employees.
  8. Royalties: A payment made to an owner of a copyright for the privilege of practicing a right under the copyright.
  9. Scholarly Work: Work such as, but not limited to, books, articles, other such publications, lectures, and computer software resulting from independent effort.
  10. Software: A work comprising statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer to bring about a certain result and any associated documentation containing operational instructions. (In cases where software is found to be patentable, the Patent Policy will govern.)
  11. Sponsored Work: A work produced by or through the University pursuant to a contract, grant, or other agreement.
  12. University Resources: All buildings, equipment, services, funds (regardless of source), and other facilities under the control of the University.
  13. Work: Any copyrightable expression including, but not limited to, writings, lectures, musical or dramatic compositions, sound recordings, films, videotapes, computer software, architectural designs, and works of art.


Institutional policy with respect to student intellectual property is described in the Student Handbook on page 22:

Student Proprietary Rights to Coursework:

Academic work submitted by students in partial or full completion of course requirements (research papers, reports, photography, electronic discs, etc.) remain the property of the student. Student permission must be granted if faculty members decide that student work may be used in other venues. Should students request the return of their previously submitted coursework, faculty members will make every effort to comply with such requests.


Troy University’s practices are consistent with employment laws in the state of Alabama and the copyright law of the United States.


Troy University is in compliance with this Comprehensive Standard.


Supporting Documentation Location
Copyright Law of the United States
Faculty Handbook, 2008 Edition
Oracle (Student Handbook), 2006-2007 Edition


Last Updated: 08/22/2008