Staff ownership of intellectual property
Understand the intellectual property ownership rights created by University of Melbourne staff
Ownership of rights to Intellectual Property (IP) created by University staff is outlined in the University of Melbourne Statute. According to the University's Statute:
The University owns intellectual property created by staff in the course of, or incidental to, employment with the University, except copyright in scholarly works
Any net revenue obtained by the University from commercialisation of intellectual property is shared with the creators.
Other considerations in determining the ownership of IP created by University staff include:
- What is the source of the funds or resources used to produce the intellectual property?
- What was the employment status of the creators at the time the intellectual property was made?
- What are the terms of any agreement related to the creation of the intellectual property?
The University’s Technology Licensing Services team will work with you to resolve any questions related to IP ownership.
The ownership of intellectual property created by a University staff member while consulting for an outside company depends on the terms of your consulting contract with the company. It is important to clearly define the scope of work within consulting contracts to minimise any issues with ownership of intellectual property created from University research.
Generally, if you are on a sabbatical paid by the University, the University still retains rights to any discoveries connected to your scope of employment. This is explained in Section 13 of the University of Melbourne Statute.
Students as staff members
If a student is also employed part-time by the University as a staff member, the University owns any IP they create during their employment. Students are advised to separate, where possible, the work that they do as a student from the work they do as an employee. The University also asserts ownership of IP created by casual employees of the University.
Any revenue obtained by the University from commercialisation of intellectual property is shared with the creators.