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Intellectual Property in Student Developed Inventions FAQs

(For Students and Faculty)

Ownership of the inventions created by students enrolled on a campus of the University of Missouri System (“University of Missouri” or “University”) is governed primarily by Collected Rule and Regulation (“CR&R”) 100.020.D.6. This document is intended to provide the University’s faculty members and students with guidance in its interpretation.

The following Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) address the ownership of student-generated inventions vis-à-vis the student and the University when the student is a legal inventor. Importantly, even if the University does not have ownership of an invention via the student-inventor’s contribution, in many instances, the University may still have an ownership interest in the invention via the inventor contributions of a faculty member or other University employee. That is, the invention may have both a student-inventor who is not obligated to assign his/her rights in the invention to the University and a co-inventor who is obligated to assign his/her rights in the invention to the University. If that is the case, the University and the student will co-own the intellectual property rights in the invention.

The following subsections of CR&R 100.020 Patents and Plant Varieties are relevant to these FAQs:

Definition of "Employee" under CR&R 100.020.C.2

Rights of the University and Students under CR&R 100.020.D.6

Student Developed Intellectual Property FAQs

#1: Who should a student or faculty member contact if they have a question about student intellectual property rights or need one of the forms described herein?

#2: Who is an “inventor” as that term is used in these FAQs?

#3: Does naming a student on a journal article make the student an inventor?

#4: Who makes the determination of inventorship?

#5: Are graduate students treated differently from undergraduate students under the student IP policy?

#6: Are students who are “Employees” treated differently from students who are not “Employees” under the student IP policy?

#7: How is a student receiving a stipend for performing research or working in a laboratory treated under the student IP policy?

#8: Who owns an invention that a student develops in a for-credit course that the student is taking?

#9: Who owns an invention if an unpaid graduate student develops an invention as part of a thesis or for-credit seminar having a research component?

#10: Who owns an invention if a student develops an invention as part of a for-credit course involving a project that is internally funded by the University?

#11: Who owns an invention if a student develops an invention as part of a for-credit course that is (a) based on a problem submitted by a for-profit company or non-profit organization (“Sponsor”) and/or (b) based on a project externally-funded by the Sponsor such that the Sponsor wants to own or have a license to the resulting IP?

#12: What should a student or faculty member do if a Sponsor asks the student to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (“NDA”) and/or Non-Compete Agreement?

#13: Who owns an invention if a student develops an invention as part of a for-credit course while the student is an employee of a for-profit company or non-profit organization?

#14: Who owns an invention if a student works without compensation in a University laboratory outside of class on his/her own free time to gain “real world” experience and develops an invention?

#14a: What happens if a student works in a University laboratory outside of class on his/her own free time to gain “real world” experience and develops an invention, but research being performed in the laboratory is federally funded?

#14b: Whan happens if a student works without compensation in a University laboratory outside of class on his/her own free time to gain “real world” experience and develops an invention, but the research being performed in the laboratory is funded by an industry sponsor?

#15: If a student works without compensation in a University laboratory outside of class and develops an invention that the student otherwise owns, can the student voluntarily assign his/her rights to the University?

#15a: If a student works without compensation in a University laboratory outside of class and develops an invention that the student otherwise owns, under what circumstances will the University agree to treat the unpaid student who is not otherwise an “Employee” as an “Employee” under CR&R 100.020.C.2.3?

#15b: If a student works without compensation in a University laboratory outside of class and develops an invention that the student otherwise owns, when can the unpaid student enter into a written agreement with the University such that the student will be treated as an “Employee” under CR&R 100.020.C.2.3?

#16: How should University faculty ensure that the University owns any inventions developed as part of government funded or industry-sponsored research if a student works in the laboratory to obtain “real world” experience?

#17: Who decides when the University will or will not assert ownership in an invention developed by a student?

#18: When will the University make an express determination that it will not assert ownership in an invention developed by a student?

#19. What is the difference between “assignment” and a “license” of an invention/patent?

#20.  Who is the University’s Patent Administrator?

#21. What is the University of Missouri Patent Committee?

NOTE: These FAQs are designed to provide some helpful information to assist with questions about intellectual property for student-developed inventions. These FAQs are not a substitute for CR&R 100.020. The CR&R supersedes any interpretations given herein.