Time-honoured practices respect the rights of scholars and inventors to receive credit for their original ideas and inventions. Over the past decade, appreciation of the commercial value of intellectual property has grown both within the academic community and in society at large. Concerns related to confidentiality, publication, and ownership of intellectual property are now commonplace. This document is intended to introduce these issues and the relevant University of British Columbia policies. It also confirms the University’s commitment to academic freedom and the dissemination of knowledge.

Intellectual property issues are best understood within a framework that includes:

  • the research policies of the University
  • the standards and traditions of your academic discipline
  • Canadian law
  • the terms of applicable contracts

Every member of the academic community, student and supervisor alike, must be knowledgeable about intellectual property both to protect their own rights and to respect the rights of others. For most graduate students, the relationship with their supervisor is a productive collaborative activity. Every effort is made to provide the student with the appropriate learning environment and skills required for success as an independent scholar in future positions.

However a research university has a complicated environment, and it is easy for misunderstandings to arise about the rights and obligations that students have with respect to the University, the supervisor and other colleagues, a granting agency or company providing research support, or others with an interest in the research.