Honorary appointee and visitor ownership of intellectual property

Understand the intellectual property ownership rights created by University of Melbourne honourees and visitors

In relation to honorary appointees and visitors, the University of Melbourne only asserts ownership of IP that is considered 'teaching material' or IP created that is the subject of 'specified agreements'. Honorary appointees and visitors to the University have the same responsibility as University staff to identify, disclose, protect, manage and, where appropriate, be involved in the commercialisation of IP.

Teaching material

The University asserts ownership of IP of teaching materials, including all versions, whether digital or otherwise, of information, documents and materials you create or use for the primary purposes of teaching and educating at the University. This includes the permitted adaptation or incorporation of scholarship, learning or research for that primary purpose. Examples include your:

  • lecture notes that you share with students
  • computer-generated presentations
  • course guides
  • overhead projector notes
  • examination scripts
  • examination marking guides
  • course databases
  • websites and multimedia-based courseware.

Specified agreements

Where honorary appointees and visitors are engaged in activities which are the subject of a 'specified agreement', the University owns the IP you create under that agreement and you are bound by any confidentiality obligations or other contractual terms imposed by that agreement.

A 'specified agreement' means 'an agreement or deed between the University and any party which considers the ownership or use of IP that may arise out of an activity, including research, which is identified in the agreement or deed.' This includes but is not limited to research grant agreements and research contracts.

Computer programs and educational software

Visitors and honoraries planning to engage in the development of a University computer program and/or software should first clarify with the University the IP arrangements to apply in respect of that development.

Duty of IP disclosure

All UoM researchers, including honorary appointees and visitors, have an obligation to disclose all new intellectual property to the University via their Business Development team members.  You need to do so whenever you have discovered or created something unique that might have commercial value, solve a significant problem, or could be made into a product or service by an industry partner.  Please do this well before presenting the discovery through publications, poster sessions, conferences, press releases, or other communications – ideally several months before doing so, at the draft manuscript stage – and before talking to any external parties, especially prospective investors.  When you disclose your intellectual property to the University, it starts a process that could lead to the commercialisation of your discovery or creation.  This may involve initiating the IP protection process for your invention and working to identify outside development partners.  If industry or government funds were used for your research, you might have obligations and reporting requirements to the funding party.

It’s not always clear if a creation or discovery represents intellectual property.  To find out whether you have intellectual property that can be further developed, talk with your Business Development team member and they will help assess your intellectual property.

Any net revenue obtained by the University from commercialisation of intellectual property is shared with the creators, which also applies to honorary appointees and visitors.

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