Jul 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Calendar 
2023-2024 Graduate Calendar [ARCHIVED CALENDAR]

Intellectual property

Intellectual property comprises original work which often takes various forms such as research data, books, journal papers, theses, projects, photographs, computer programs, websites, equipment, devices or audio recordings.

Students and ownership of intellectual property

Students, as well as faculty members and researchers, may create intellectual property. This may be done individually or in collaboration with one or more students, the student’s research supervisor or faculty advisor, or other faculty members.

The university’s intellectual property policy generally states that creators own their work. As a result, student rights are treated as equivalent to those of all other academic personnel, including faculty members.

When a student works collaboratively with other students, the student’s research supervisor, or other faculty members or researchers at the university, credit for the work is generally shared among the research collaborators. To be considered for joint authorship, all collaborators must have made a significant contribution to the concept, design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data and helped write and revise the draft publication for intellectual content.

In addition, as the Student Contributors section of the university’s Research Guidelines states, “A student should be granted due prominence on the list of co-authors for any multiple-authored article or report that is based primarily on the student’s own work, according to the commonly accepted practice in the field.”

Students and ownership of externally funded research

While jointly created intellectual property is owned jointly, other ownership rules may apply when a student participates in a project that is funded by externally sponsored contracts or grants. In such cases, the sponsoring organization or any contractual agreement with the university may determine ownership and control of intellectual property.

Students should discuss with their research supervisor or faculty advisor whether any such conditions apply to the student’s work. Nevertheless, an external organization or agency may not delay completion of a student’s thesis, project or major paper. Only in special circumstances may an outside organization or agency be permitted to temporarily delay public dissemination of such student work.

If the work has commercial value, the student, in conjunction with other co-creators of the work, may wish to apply for a patent or other intellectual property protection. Upon request, the university will assess the commercial value of the work and may agree to pay for these costs and manage the intellectual property commercialization process on behalf of the creators. In all cases, commercialization activities require authorization from the Vice-President, Research, Innovation and International to confirm that obligations to the university and any research sponsors have been met and will continue to be satisfied.