Student and Registry Services
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Intellectual Property Rights
- Policy Statement on Intellectual Property Rights/Copyright in relation to students
- Guidance to Students on IPR issues
- Annex 1 Intellectual Property Rights Appeals Panel
- Annex 2 Revenue-Sharing Arrangements
- Annex 3 Guidance for Students using Licensed Software/Datasets
- Annex 4a IPR Issues in Software Developed by Students: Some General Guidance
- Annex 4b IPR and Open Source Software
- Annex 4c Licence
- Annex 5 Assignment, Transfer and Licence Forms
- Abbreviations used in this document
Policy Statement on Intellectual Property Rights/Copyright in Relation to students
- UCL is committed to encouraging the successful exploitation of intellectual property by its staff and students and maximising the value of intellectual property for the benefit of all involved in its creation. UCL seeks to promote the recognition, protection and exploitation of potentially valuable intellectual property produced by its students,
- As a general principle UCL recognises the student as owner of any IPR he/she produces while a registered student of UCL. This principle may be subject to variation in the case of collaborative or externally sponsored work, or other exceptional circumstances.
- Collaboration between students and academic staff and between students and sponsors is subject to the revenue-sharing arrangements detailed in the Financial Regulations (see Annex 2).
- Requests for assignment of IPR in collaborative work between students and their supervisors and research teams will be made by the student's supervisor in consultation with the Head of Department in order to cover any potential revenue-sharing by the student or supervisor, or commercial exploitation (where there would be a claim by UCL).
- An agreement on IPR must be established at the outset of the student project. In the case of a project that derives from the IP of academic staff or involves substantial collaboration with academic staff, UCL will retain ownership of individual IPR arising during or from the project in order to ensure it is able to benefit fully from any commercially exploitable opportunities which may arise from the larger programme.
- In the case of a project as described in 5. students will be required to assign any IPR to UCL.
- The supervisor of a student project is responsible for determining in consultation with the Head of Department at the start of a project if an assignment of IPR is necessary.
|Externally Sponsored Work|
- Ownership of IP in a student project that is sponsored must be covered by the terms of the research contract between the sponsor and UCL, and students must be informed of the terms of that contract by the project supervisor or Head of Department at the start of the project. If the research contract involves ownership of IP by the sponsor, students will be required to assign IPR to UCL to enable UCL to manage the contract.
- Academic Departments are required to have adequate procedures for ensuring that IPR arrangements are implemented in a proper manner; these arrangements are subject to audit under the IQR process.
|IPR in Student Creative Work|
UCL claims the following rights in relation to students' creative work produced while they are registered at UCL:
- to acquire, on fair and reasonable terms, ownership of the material element of any artistic works produced by students, including without limitation paintings, photographs, sculptures and multi-media works;
- to reproduce, without fee, artistic works acquired in this way in UCL publications for educational and promotional use, including databases, web-sites, academic publications, exhibition catalogues, leaflets and prospectuses;
- to borrow, for a reasonable period of time, the material element of any works produced by students, and/or a suitable reproduction of these works, for the purposes of publishing these works in publications by UCL and its staff, and/or for the purposes of showing these works to professional statutory bodies for the validation of appropriate degree programmes.
- For the avoidance of doubt the copyright in all such artistic works shall remain with the student and any reproduction by UCL intended for commercial purposes will be subject to an individual licence to be negotiated with the student and subject to UCL's standard revenue-sharing agreement.
- Students who are required to assign IPR to UCL will be treated in the same way as members of staff for the purposes of sharing any revenues arising from the commercial exploitation of that intellectual property.
|Duration of student agreements on IPR|
- Any right to revenue which may accrue under UCL's IP regulations to students who are or were registered at UCL and any obligation to assist UCL in the exploitation of the IP at UCL's expense shall continue in force and effect for the duration of the IPR.
|Disputes and Appeals|
- UCL has established an appeals mechanism consisting of a Student IP Committee and a Student IPR Appeals Panel. Any dispute regarding the assignment of student IPR will be referred in the first instance to the Student IP Committee.
|Guidance to Students on IPR issues|
What are Intellectual Property Rights?
- Intellectual Property (IP) is the term given to the productions of original intellectual or creative activity. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are the legal rights that exist in those productions. IPR include the following related areas: copyright, patents, designs, trademarks, plant variety rights, database right and analogous rights.
- Copyright is an unregistered intellectual property right, which arises automatically by operation of law in the UK when a protectable work is created by a qualifying author, and there is no registration required. ('Protectable' here describes the class of copyright work, these are: literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, films, broadcasts and cable programmes. 'Qualifying' refers usually to whether the author is recognised under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Most authors are qualifying authors.) A copyright work must be original. (Originality' has a relatively low threshold and is not to be confused in any way with whether a copyright work is novel or new. The term 'originality' only refers to the fact that the author must make some amount of effort to produce the work in the first place. The term 'literary' is merely a reference to a written work.) Computer software is treated as a literary work and as such is protected by copyright in the same way as literary and artistic works. Copyright is governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. For further guidance on intellectual property in software and datasets please refer to Annex 3.
- Databases are protected in one of two ways. Some databases can be protected as copyright works (see above) when the person compiling the database is judged to have used sufficient skill, labour and judgement in devising the compilation. Other databases are protected by a separate Database Right. This lasts for 15 years. Databases protected by Database Right tend to protect the content, as opposed to the organisation and structure of a database. Even so, Database Right is a valuable intellectual property right. It is governed by the Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997.
- Patents protect original inventions (subject to some exclusions) with industrial application. They are one of the strongest forms of intellectual property right, conferring a 20-year monopoly upon their proprietor and they are infringed even if there is no conscious copying. They have to be applied for and are granted by the state through the Patent Office. They must pass through a rigorous vetting procedure for compliance with the legal requirements, before they are granted. Patents are governed by the Patents Act 1977.
- Design Rights under English law can exist in unregistered or registered form. Design rights are in some ways similar to copyright but for three-dimensional articles. Registered designs protect the shape, configuration, pattern or ornament of an article to the extent that they have "eye appeal". The main legislation in the UK is the Registered Designs Act 1949.
- Unregistered Design Right arises automatically by operation of law and, as its name suggests, it does not require to be registered anywhere. Unregistered design right is a proprietary right which subsists in an original design. "Design" for these purposes means the "design of any aspect of the shape or configuration (whether internal or external) of the whole or part of an article." Unregistered design right does not subsist unless and until the design has been recorded in a design document or an article which has been made to the design. Unregistered Design Rights are governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Recent changes have been introduced by way of EU legislation which has created Community design rights that afford designs protection throughout the European Union.
- Trade Marks can be registered or unregistered. A registered trade mark is often much more valuable than an unregistered trade mark which can only give the owner a right to sue for passing off. It is more difficult and expensive to bring an action for passing off than for straightforward infringement of a registered trademark; so possession of a registered trademark is highly desirable. Registered trade marks are governed in the UK by the Trade Marks Act 1994. There is also a Community Trade Mark which gives a mark protection throughout the EU.
- Assignment is the term given to the outright transfer of ownership of IPR from one person or party to another. It is often, but not always, done in return for a fee. Whilst transfer of ownership of physical property is achieved by delivery of the property from one person to another, intellectual property must be transferred in a written document which is referred to as an assignment.
- Licence and licensing are the terms given to the permission, which the owner of an intellectual property right may give to any other person or parties to use that IPR. Someone using an intellectual property right without a licence infringes that intellectual property right. The owner may charge a fee in return for the grant of a licence and can impose terms and conditions on its use as part of a licence. There is no transfer of ownership, just a licensing of use and it can be thought of as similar to hiring or renting out other forms of property. Licences are usually divided as follows. A non exclusive licence means that the licensor himself can use the rights and he can have any number of licensees. A sole licence means that the rights owner can use the rights but can only create one licence in favour of his licensee. An exclusive licence means that the licensor himself cannot use the rights and only one licence can be created. As can be seen, an exclusive or a sole licence will tend to command more royalty rights or income than a non exclusive licence.
- Moral Rights: A moral right is not an intellectual property right but is something which allows authors or film directors to assert their rights to be known as the author (the "paternity right") and to object to any derogatory treatment of the right ("the integrity right"). The moral right is usually asserted where copyright is assigned and the assertion binds the assignee. (see also 4.vii)
Where do Intellectual Property Rights arise for students?
Issues around IPR for students can arise, inter alia:
- in research work undertaken in a team with academic staff (collaborative work)
- in the reproduction or exploitation of creative work (art work, plans, drawings etc)
- in work that is supported by a sponsor.
What should you do if questions of IPR in your work arise?
Consult your Supervisor or Head of Department in the first instance, who will seek guidance, as appropriate, from the UCL Copyright Officer and/or UCL Business. If you are unsure if there is an IPR issue, then you should consult as appropriate.
What are the College's rules and procedure for dealing with IPR in students' work?
As a general principle UCL recognises that students own the IPR in any work that they produce as part of their course of study at UCL. However, there are some circumstances where ownership has to be shared or granted to UCL or a third party. The following summarises UCL's general policies and procedures:
- Students who are sponsored. Any conditions made by the sponsor regarding ownership of IP developed during the period of sponsorship, particularly granting ownership to the sponsor, must be respected. Sponsored students are therefore advised to check the terms of their sponsorship agreement at the outset of the project or programme of study.
- Students working on a sponsored project as part of their coursework or research. Ownership of IP from the project should be covered by the research contract between the sponsor and UCL. Students must be informed of these terms by the project supervisor or Head of Department before starting work on the project. If the research contract involves ownership of IP by the sponsor, it will be necessary for students to assign IPR to UCL so that UCL can in turn assign or licence these intellectual property rights to the sponsor.
- Students who are working on a project that derives from the IP of academic staff or involves substantial collaboration with academic staff. Such projects, which form a part of many graduate and undergraduate degree programmes, will often be connected in some way to academics' ongoing research/professional interests and may be part of a much larger research programme. In these cases it is necessary for UCL to have ownership of individual students' IPR produced during the project to ensure it is able to benefit fully from any commercially exploitable opportunities which may arise from the larger programme. In such cases students will be required to assign IPR to UCL. It is the responsibility of the supervisor of a student project to determine in consultation with the Head of Department at the start of a project if an assignment of IPR is necessary.
- Students who are required to assign IPR to UCL will be treated in the same way as a member of staff for the purposes of sharing any revenues arising from the commercial exploitation of that intellectual property. (See Annex 2, Revenue Sharing Arrangements)
- Student IPR in Creative Work. UCL claims the right to acquire ownership, on fair and reasonable terms, of the physical work in any artistic works produced by students; including, without limitation, paintings, photographs, sculptures and multi-media works. UCL also claims the right to reproduce, without fee, artistic works acquired in this way in UCL publications for educational and promotional use, including databases, web-sites, academic publications, exhibition catalogues, leaflets and prospectuses. For the avoidance of doubt the copyright in all such artistic works shall remain with the student and any reproduction by UCL intended for commercial purposes will be subject to an individual licence negotiated with the student and subject to UCL's standard revenue-sharing agreement. For further guidance about copyright in artistic works students should seek the advice of the UCL Copyright Officer and the Curator of UCL Art Collections.
- Borrowing Student Work. UCL claims the right to borrow, for a reasonable period of time, the physical work in any works produced by students, and/or a suitable reproduction of these works, for the purposes of publishing these works in publications by UCL and its staff, and/or for the purposes of showing these works to professional statutory bodies for the validation of appropriate degree programmes.
- UCL recognises the moral rights of authors in relation to their copyright works. In displaying and borrowing student works UCL will have regard to the students' moral rights and will provide for appropriate notice of authorship. If this is not practical, then a waiver of these moral rights will be sought.
- Confidential information. UCL reserves the right to impose confidentiality obligations on students who create, or work on, patentable inventions. The main reason for this is that any disclosure of the invention may destroy novelty and hence render the invention non-patentable. The obligation of confidentiality usually lasts until a patent application is filed. Confidentiality agreements may also apply to projects that are sponsored, where it may form part of the agreement between the student and the sponsor.
If students have any doubts about the meaning and effect of the assignment forms, they should seek independent legal advice. If any student declines to assign IPR at the start of a project when requested, whenever possible they should be offered an alternative project on which to work.
Assignment of IPR to publishers
Authors are strongly advised not to assign the IPR in their work to a publisher, but to seek a licensing agreement for publication. It is suggested that if authors do assign their copyright to a publisher they assert their moral rights (see above). Guidance can be obtained from the UCL Copyright Officer. Guidance is also available on the UCL Copyright web site at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Library/scholarly-communication/copyright.shtml
How long will any arrangements or agreement with College on IPR last and what happens after you graduate?
Any right to revenue which may accrue to students under UCL's IP regulations and any obligation to assist UCL in the exploitation of the IP at its expense will continue in force and effect for the duration of the IPR.
What should you do if there is a dispute over IPR issues or if you have any queries?
In the event that a student considers that a request to assign IPR to UCL is unfair they can appeal to the Student IP Committee. The committee will comprise: a student nominated by the UCL Union, an academic nominated by the Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), the UCL Copyright Officer and a representative of UCL Business. The Committee will be chaired by the Dean of a Faculty which is not that of the student or any staff involved. The student may be supported by a member of UCL Business, UCL Union or a member of UCL nominated by the student. The Registrar will nominate the clerk to the committee. Final appeal will be to the Student IPR Appeals Panel (details attached at Annex 1).
|Copyright matters||Dr Paul Ayris, UCL Copyright Officer||020 7679 7834|
(0)20 7679 9000
|Data protection||UCL Data Protection Officer||020 7679 7783|
|General||UCL Union Rights and Advice Centre||020 7679 2998|
Intellectual Property Rights Appeals Panel
The following constitution is proposed for the panel which would consider appeals against decisions of the Student IPR Committee:
Chair: To be appointed by the Registrar in consultation with the UCL Copyright Officer from the Panel of persons independent of UCL appointed by Council, as and when the Panel needs to be convened
One member, to be appointed by the Registrar in consultation with the UCL Copyright Officer, from the Panel of persons independent of UCL appointed by Council, as and when the Panel needs to be convened
One student from a university other than UCL, normally within the London area, to be appointed by the Registrar in consultation with UCL Union Sabbatical Officers as and when the Panel needs to be convened
Secretary: To be appointed by the Registrar
Terms of reference
To consider and determine any appeals against decisions of the Student IPR Committee.
Student IPR Appeals Panel
- Any appeal against a decision of the Student IPR Committee must be submitted in writing to the UCL Copyright Officer within twenty-eight days of the date of formal notification of the decision against which the appeal is being made. All documentation pertaining to the grounds on which the appeal is made must be submitted at the same time. No further communications will be accepted for consideration under an appeal after this time.
Such an appeal should normally be made only on one or more of the following grounds:
- The consideration of the matter by the Student IPR Committee was not conducted according to the proper procedure.
- Fresh material has become available which was not, and could not reasonably have been, available to the Student IPR Committee.
- The decision of the Student IPR Committee was unreasonable or unfair.
- As soon as is practicable after receipt of the appeal the UCL Copyright
Officer shall present the documentation relevant to the appeal, including the
relevant minutes or report of the Student IPR Committee, to the Chair of the
Appeals Panel who shall decide on the evidence available whether or not the
appeal should be proceeded with and shall notify the UCL Copyright Officer to
that effect normally within ten days of receipt of the documentation.
- If it is decided not to proceed with the appeal, the UCL Copyright Officer
shall inform the appellant in writing of the decision of the Chair of the Panel
normally within five clear working days of receiving it.
- Where it is decided that the appeal shall be proceeded with, or UCL
Copyright Officer shall inform all the parties of the decision of the Chair of
the Appeals Panel and will make the necessary arrangements for the appeal to be
heard as early as possible.
The constitution of the IPR Appeals Panel shall be as follows:
Chair: To be appointed by the Registrar in consultation with the UCL Copyright Officer, as and when the Appeals Panel needs to be convened, from the Panel of persons independent of UCL appointed by Council
One member to be appointed by the Registrar in consultation with the UCL Copyright Officer, as and when the Appeals Panel needs to be convened, from the Panel of persons independent of UCL appointed by Council
One registered student normally from within the University of London but not from UCL, to be appointed by the Registrar in consultation with UCL Union Sabbatical Officers as and when the Appeals Panel needs to be convened.
Note: Members of the Appeals Panel shall be asked at the time of appointment to declare any interest in or connection with the appellant which might be likely to prejudice their participation in the hearing.
- The appeal shall normally be determined at a hearing but may be determined
by correspondence if the Chair deems this appropriate and the appellant consents
to this. All parties shall be informed of the date of any hearing.
- The appellant shall be invited to the hearing and may attend throughout
except when the Panel deliberates upon its decision.
- The Panel may invite such other persons to the hearing and seek evidence
from them as its sees fit.
- The quorum for a meeting of the Panel shall be three including the
- Procedural matters for a hearing of the Panel other than those prescribed in
this procedure shall be determined by the Panel as it sees fit.
- The Panel shall deliberate on its decision in private and the Chair will
then communicate the decision to the appellant. The Panel shall have power to
reverse or modify the decision appealed from in any way that it thinks fit.
- Following the hearing the UCL Copyright Officer will formally convey in
writing the decision of the Panel to the appellant. The decision will also be
communicated to the members of the Student IPR Committee.
- A decision of the Panel shall be final as far as internal UCL procedures are
- If the decision of the Panel fails to satisfy the student, the student may petition the UCL Visitor who is the Master of the Rolls, normally not later than six calendar months after the date of the Panel's decision.
Upon assignment of student IP rights to UCL, then for the purposes of revenue-share, the student will be treated as a member of staff.
The following outlines UCL's formula for sharing revenue with staff.
|Net cumulative income||Exploitation fee||Inventor(s)/Authors||UCL Central Funds||Department|
The income allocated to inventors/authors is shared on the basis of their contribution to the patent/paper. For example, equal inventors/authors would each receive half of this income.
Guidance for Students using Licensed Software/Datasets
During the course of their studies at UCL, students may use software or datasets licensed to UCL by the owners of the software or datasets. A student must use such software or datasets solely for academic or educational purposes. Use for other purposes (for example commercial purposes) may well result in the student or UCL being in breach of copyright and facing legal action for copyright infringement. The rules by which students may use software or datasets are set out below.
- Software or datasets licensed to UCL are in most instances provided strictly for the purposes of teaching, research or personal educational development. Their use for commercial activities (i.e. consultancy or services which lead to the commercial exploitation of licensed software or datasets) is prohibited. Use of software of datasets for non academic or non educational purposes is a disciplinary offence. Students may, depending on the extent or seriousness of non academic use, face expulsion from UCL.
- Students must ensure that they adhere to the requirements of the agreements and licences under which access to software or datasets is provided. Copies of the relevant agreements and licences may be checked via Information Systems, the student's Academic Department and via the Eduserve Chest service. The student is responsible for familiarising his/her self with the obligations contained within such agreements.
- Students must adhere to the regulations governing the use of any service that provides access to software and datasets, whether UCL or another organisation controls these services.
- Students must not remove or alter any copyright statement contained within copies of software or datasets used by them.
- Students must ensure that the security and confidentiality of any software or data sets released to them are maintained. Furthermore, they should not make any further copies from them or knowingly permit others to do so, unless allowed under the relevant licence. Back-up copies for security against loss are usually permitted.
- Students may only use the software or datasets for academic purposes and only on computer systems covered by the agreement or licence.
- Students may only incorporate software or datasets, or part thereof, in any work, program or article produced by themselves, where this is permitted by the licence or where the express permission of the Licensor has been obtained.
- Students must not reverse engineer or decompile software products / data sets or attempt to do so unless this is explicitly permitted within the terms of the licence governing the software or dataset.
- Students are not allowed to continue to use software or datasets provided for their academic work once their course/year/period of employment at UCL finishes.
IPR Issues in Software Developed by Students: Some General Guidance
Students developing software are advised to sign up to the Eduserve Chest service (http://www.eduserv.org.uk) and to consult the Joint Information System Committee web site (http://jisc.ac.uk) for advice on IPR in software.
- Spin-off companies: In the case of UCL spin-off companies developing software where students own the copyright, the IPR in this software would be subject to the standard UCL licence from UCL Ventures. When this involves co-working with a supervisor the standard revenue sharing agreement would apply
- Student web sites: For web-sites developed as part of assessed student coursework where UCL might wish to use the material, a licence form (as the 'Slade' form, see Annex 5) would be required. A formal procedure is particularly important if UCL or the department wishes to use the web site for publicity purposes.
- Use of third party images: In the case of third party images, there is a need for a clear audit trail on the use of images in web sites. Students should be told that acknowledgement is good practice.
- Multi-media links: Students using any third party multi-media digital objects must also have permission for use and/or give clear references.
- Student-generated code: UCL may wish to have a non-exclusive licence in perpetuity for student-generated code. Should this code be marketable, or have input from a supervisor then UCL Ventures should be involved and normal revenue-sharing arrangements will apply.
- Derived data used in processing: The rights to derived data, if used for re-publication, should be negotiated with the original supplier.
- Students and staff should be aware of the ESRC procedures that apply to use of numerical data
- Overseas material is protected by the Berne convention.
IPR and Open Source Software
Students who wish to make software available through open source should consult their Department and the UCL Copyright Officer who will advise on the appropriate licence. Sample licences may be viewed at: http://opensource.org/licenses
Students who then wish to proceed with open source distribution should sign a short statement in their department indicating that they have evaluated the potential commercial interests and that an open source strategy is best.
Students are advised to take great care and to seek appropriate advice before making software available through open source, as it is difficult to withdraw once committed.
There are potential difficulties if the software material made available through the GPL open source licence, which is 'viral', as this means that any derivatives must also be made available in the same way.
Open source licences can apply not only to programme code but also to specifications such as XML schemas.
Students should note that
- Open source does not mean public domain; - it is a licence giving freedom to modify and extend the software.
- Commercialisation is excluded in some open source licences.
- Open source licences offer no warranty and no support.
The UCL Open-source Licence is under development. Students are referred to the web pages of the Open Source Initiative for guidance at www.opensource.org
Students must take appropriate advice from their department and the UCL Copyright Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) before proceeding with any open-source licence.
Assignment, Transfer and Licence Forms
Please note these are Word format documents
- Transfer of Purchased Prize Works
- Assignment of Intellectual Property Rights in Student Work
- Licence of Intellectual Property Rights in Student Work
AC Academic Committee
IP Intellectual Property
IPR Intellectual Property Rights
IQR Internal Quality Review
GPL General Purpose Licence
UCL University College London
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Page last modified on 13 nov 14 09:27