Wearing More Than One Hat

The situation becomes more complicated, however, where individuals associated with the University “wear several hats”. A graduate student carrying out thesis research may also be a teaching assistant (and thus an employee of the University) and a collaborator on his or her supervisor’s research project funded by a private sponsor.

In each role, your ability to claim authorship, inventorship or other intellectual property rights depends on what function or activity you are performing, rather than on your status. Scholarly work is generally entitled to some form of credit but pure administrative or general work as an employee is not.

Working Independently

Some companies and individuals work independently at the University. If they simply rent space and are not otherwise using materials or equipment provided by the University, generally the University has no claim to intellectual property rights over the resulting work. If the University administered their funds or otherwise provided materials, laboratories or equipment that allowed them to carry on work, the University claims an interest in the resulting work. Check the terms of any collective agreement or employment contract that applies to your employment relationship. You may also require specific advice about your intellectual property rights if you carry out multiple functions at the University.