Student Intellectual Property
Rights and responsibilities regarding intellectual property created by a student at Penn State.
Special Student Intellectual Property Policies and Agreement Forms
Set forth below are rights and responsibilities regarding intellectual property created as a student at The Pennsylvania State University.
General Rule. Any intellectual property (such as undergraduate theses, inventions, discoveries, creations and new technologies) conceived or first reduced to practice by a student at The Pennsylvania State University (“University”) as a work product (including homework assignments, laboratory experiments, special and independent study projects) of a “for credit” course (including SUBJ 294, 494, 594, 296, 496, and 596) will be owned by the student. The University does not claim ownership of such intellectual property.
However, intellectual property conceived or first reduced to practice in graduate research (e.g., SUBJ 600 or 610) or graduate thesis preparation (e.g., SUBJ 601, 611) credit courses will be owned by the University, and will be subject to University policies and procedures governing intellectual property and patents.
When a sponsor uses student research results, the sponsor is required to sign the Student Research Sponsorship Acknowledgement which: 1) acknowledges that the student research results are not warranted by the University; 2) the sponsor indemnifies the University; and 3) the student research results are not the work of the University.
Special Situations. Situations may occur in certain courses (e.g., SUBJ 296, 496, 596, 295, 395, 495 and 595) where students are presented with the opportunity to participate in projects or activities in which the ownership of any resulting intellectual property must be assigned either to the University or to a sponsoring entity (such as a company) as a condition of the student’s participation. Students are never obligated to participate in projects or activities that require the assignment of the student’s intellectual property to the University or to another entity. In these situations students will always be presented with two options: 1) to participate in projects or activities that do not require the student to assign their intellectual property or 2) to participate in projects or activities that require the student to assign their intellectual property.
The student’s grade and/or evaluation of performance in the course will not be affected by the student’s decision to participate or not to participate in projects or activities requiring the assignment of the student’s intellectual property.
Students should understand that the assignment of intellectual property is a binding legal agreement and that they have the right to seek independent legal advice at their own expense prior to signing this agreement. Students may obtain free legal consultation through the Division of Student Affairs.
Retention of Rights/Assignment of Rights
- If students wish to retain ownership of their intellectual property and decline to assign their rights to any other entity, no further action is required.
- If students agree to assign to the University all rights that they may acquire in inventions, discoveries or rights of patent that are conceived or first actually reduced to practice by them as a result of their participation in the course, they need to complete the Special Intellectual Property Agreement Form for Students 1 – For Use When Assigning Intellectual Property to The Pennsylvania State University.
- If students agree to assign to the Sponsor all rights that they may acquire in inventions, discoveries or rights of patent that are conceived or first actually reduced to practice by them as a result of their participation in that course, they must complete the Special Intellectual Property Agreement Form for Students 2 – For Use When Assigning Intellectual Property to Company Sponsor.
Acknowledgement by Sponsor. Student project results are provided “as is” without any representation or warranties whatsoever, whether express or implied, including, but not necessarily limited to any warranty as to fitness for particular purposes, merchantability or non-infringement. All research performed is to be done by University students and is not subject to peer review or independent verification of results. The sponsor hereby agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the University, its agents, employees, students and volunteers for any and all harm, loss, liability, claims or damages which may arise from your use of the student project results in whatever manner or form.
The student project results are not the work of the University and any references either internally or to third parties shall clearly identify the source of the student project results as student research performed at the University without subsequent independent evaluation.
The sponsor is required to sign the Student Research Sponsorship Acknowledgement (Form 3).