When Developed by a Group

The creation of intellectual property in an academic setting often involves input from a number of individuals. The concept for a research project or thesis may originate with a faculty member. Research supervisors also provide tutelage, guidance, and interpretation to graduate students and others involved in a research project or thesis. Students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, and research technicians may each contribute to the creation and development of intellectual property under the supervision of a faculty member.

The rights to the intellectual property created in this way belong to its creators, and the onus lies with the group to agree on the relative individual contributions to the intellectual property. If the group is unable reach agreement, please see Dispute Resolution. The ownership of intellectual property should reflect the model of collaboration within the relevant field. For example, if the student independently came up with the idea for the research and conducted it independently, with the supervisor acting as a consultant or mentor, the intellectual property rights would normally rest with the student unless the professor, program, or granting agency requires a different agreement.

However, if the student is working within an established research program, for example in a laboratory setting, and using resources (including supplies, space and funds) assigned to the professor, the intellectual property would usually not reside with the student alone.