Brown University Patent and Invention Policy and Copyright Policy

The Corporation of Brown University approved and adopted the Brown University Patent and Invention Policy on December 13, 2019. The Policy, effective immediately, replaces the University Patent and Invention Policy approved and adopted May 30, 2005. 


Please note: This new document has been separated from Brown’s Copyright Policy, which is shown below. The Copyright Policy, adopted in May, 2005, remains unchanged. It is shown here as text, noted with sections beginning with “2” because the Patent and Invention Policy was Section 1 in the previous document.

PATENT AND INVENTION POLICY

The Patent and Invention Policy is available as a Google Doc here.


2.0 The Copyright Policy

2.1 Applicability

This policy applies to faculty, students, employees, visitors and consultants, whether paid or not, who create copyrightable materials under University auspices or using University facilities.

2.2 Copyright Policy

It is the policy of Brown University that ownership of the copyright in a work shall belong to the author or authors of the work, with certain, stated exceptions. (See I. – VIII. below.) For cases in which ownership of the copyright vests in the author or authors of the work, assignment of the copyright in such work need not be approved by the University. The exceptions to this policy that shall vest ownership of the copyright in a work with Brown University, rather than with the author or authors of the work, are: I. if the work is a Work Made for Hire5 as defined by United States copyright law; II. if the work is defined as an "Institutional Work" under Section 2.4 below; III. if there is an intent to commercialize the copyrighted material on the part of the copyright owner or owners in an industrial application (e.g., commercial data management and analysis products and services); IV. if the work was "Significantly Derived from University Resources" under Section 2.5 below; V. if the work is an audio, video, photographic or any form of digital reproduction of a class, course or presentation made by Brown faculty, staff or students; VI. if the work includes images of Brown University-owned facilities, buildings or property for purposes other than scholarly research and publication; VII. if the work includes rare Brown University holdings or unique data sets that are periodically employed by faculty or students other than the author or authors of the work; or VIII. if the work includes the name or insignia of Brown University as an endorsement, enhancement or sanction for a product or service. With respect to the foregoing works, Brown University shall be the owner of the copyright in the work. As such, the University may decide to assign its copyright to the author or authors of the work on a case by case basis. 5. For guidance on the definition of "work made for hire," see Section 2.3 below and additional guidelines provided at http://www.brown.edu/Administration/Copyright/glossary.html. For cases in which ownership in the copyright of a work vests in the University as a result of a grant or contract, the University shall, if permitted by the grant or contract, assign the copyright to the author or authors if necessary to comply with the requirements of scholarly publications.

2.3 Work Made for Hire

A "Work Made for Hire" is a work created in the course of the author's employment. For example, works created by writers of university publications or by staff programmers would be considered Works Made for Hire and are the property of the University. Copyrightable works of scholarly research, course materials or artistic works made by faculty members would not be considered Works Made for Hire and are the property of the author or authors.

2.4 Institutional Works

The copyright in Institutional Works shall be owned by the University. Institutional Works are defined as works that are supported by a specific allocation of University funds or created at the direction of the University for a specific University purpose. Institutional Works also include works whose authorship cannot be attributed to one or a discrete number of authors, but rather result from simultaneous or sequential contributions over time by multiple authors. For example, software tools developed and improved over time by multiple faculty and students, where authorship is not appropriately attributed to a single or defined group, would constitute an Institutional Work. The mere fact that multiple individuals have contributed to the creation of a work shall not cause the work to constitute an Institutional Work.

2.5 Works Significantly Derived from University Resources

The copyright in Works Significantly Derived from University Resources shall be owned by the University. Works Significantly Derived from University Resources are defined as works created using expert University services, extensive use of the University computer infrastructure, equipment, use of the services of University nonfaculty employees working within the scope of their employment, or extensive use of other University resources that exceeds the level of support that is commonly and customarily accessed by faculty. Any question as to whether a work is Significantly Derived from University Resources can be brought to and addressed by the Standing Appeals Committee at any time, i.e., at the beginning, during the course of, or at the completion of the work. The ordinary use of University resources, including the use of desktop computers, the University computer infrastructure, secretarial staff and supplies, one's office and the University libraries, constitutes the customary use of University resources. The copyright in works created using such resources vests in the author and not in the University.

2.6 Other University Rights

When copyrighted material is developed in conjunction with an author's University activities and responsibilities, or using University facilities or equipment, or with the involvement of faculty, employees or students, the University shall retain the right to use such material for its own educational and research purposes, even though it does not claim ownership of the materials under Section 2.2 above. The foregoing right does not include a royalty-free license to use or to reproduce a published textbook for classroom or library use.

2.7 Disclosure

All copyrightable materials owned by the University must be disclosed in writing by the author(s) to the Office of Brown Technology Partnerships.

2.8 Distribution of Net Income from University-Owned Copyrights

The University agrees to share with the author(s) any net income received from the commercialization or exploitation of University-owned copyrighted material using the same formula for Net Royalties as for licensed patents as described in Section 1.3.3 above.

2.9 Works of Non-Employees

Under the United States Copyright Act, works of non-employees, such as consultants and independent contractors, are owned by the author and not by the University, unless there is a written agreement to the contrary. As it is Brown's general policy that the University shall own such works, Brown will typically require a written agreement from non-employees that ownership of such works will be assigned to the University. Examples of works which the University may retain non-employees to prepare are: o Reports by consultants or subcontractors; o Computer software; o Architectural or engineering drawings; o Illustrations or designs; or o Artistic works.

2.10 Distribution of Computer Software

The distribution of University-owned computer software to others for external research purposes must be coordinated with the Office of Brown Technology Partnerships if the software has potential commercial value or if it is subject to the terms of a sponsored research agreement. The Office of Brown Technology Partnerships will provide appropriate wording for the distribution agreement and will arrange for copyright registration. Distribution for internal, Brown University, purposes need not be coordinated with the Office of Brown Technology Partnerships and is permissible with the approval of the author of the work and the Department Head.

2.11 Electronic Distribution of Copyright Material

To the extent that this Policy does not fully address distance learning, recordation, broadcast, narrowcast, and methods and electronic means of use and dissemination of copyright materials created under University auspices or using University facilities, the University shall create a policy on such rights by a joint Faculty and Administration committee to be created for this purpose.

2.12 The Office of the Vice President for Research

The Research Advisory Board ("RAB") for the Office of the Vice President for Research ("OVPR") or its appointed working party or sub-committee will periodically review and update the Copyright Policy. Considered in this review will be the policies of peer institutions and changes in law and regulation. The RAB or its appointed working party or sub-committee will make recommendations to modify the Policies to the Vice President for Research, the Provost and the President including recommendations to modify the levels at which distributions are made and capped to take into account the impact of inflation as well as changes in law and regulation.

2.12.1 The Standing Appeals Committee

The OVPR, through the offices of its RAB or its elected working party or subcommittee in consultation with the Faculty Executive Committee, will recommend a list of faculty for selection to the Standing Appeals Committee ("SAC"). The members of the SAC, with an initial membership of five, will be selected by the Provost. The SAC shall examine disputed matters pertaining to the Copyright Policy and make its recommendations to the Vice President for Research, the Provost and the President. The SAC shall work in consultation with the Office of Brown Technology Partnerships and the Office of the General Counsel.