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RSCC Policies
RSCC Policy GA-28-01; Intellectual Property
RSCC Policy GA-28-01; Intellectual Property
Roane State Community College
Policy Number: GA-28-01
Subject: Intellectual Property

The Tennessee Board of Regents and Roane State Community College seek to:

  1. Encourage inventions, discoveries, and the production of copyrightable materials by members of the Roane State Community College community
  2. Facilitate the utilization of such discoveries and materials to the benefit of the public, the institution, and the members of the institutional community
  3. Provide for the equitable sharing of any proceeds derived from the commercial exploitation of inventions, discoveries, and copyrightable materials in which, pursuant to this policy, Roane State Community College is determined to have an interest.

Definitions

Copyrightable Materials - Those materials or works which reasonably appear to qualify for protection under the copyright laws of the United States or other protective statutes. Copyrightable materials include but are not limited to:

  1. books, text, glossaries, bibliographies, study guides, laboratory manuals, syllabi, tests, proposals
  2. computer programs
  3. films, filmstrips, charts, transparencies, and other visual aids
  4. lectures, musical or dramatic compositions, unpublished scripts
  5. video or audio tapes, cassettes
  6. all electronic data storage devices such as CD’s, DVD’s, jump drives, thumb drives, etc.

Patentable Materials - Those innovations, inventions, discoveries, or developments which reasonably appear to qualify for protection under the patent laws of the United States or protective statutes. The United States Code Annotated, Title 35, Section 101, as amended, provides that "whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefore, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title."

Establishing Responsibility for Utilization and Sharing. The basic factors to be considered in establishing the responsibility for the utilization of any invention, discovery, or copyrightable materials, and sharing of the proceeds are:

  1. RSCC sponsorship of the project leading to the discovery or development of materials
  2. Significant use of RSCC's facilities, services, or equipment (Library excluded) in the discovery or production process
  3. The sponsorship of the project through the institution

In the event that any one of these three factors exists, Roane State Community College shall have an interest in the invention, discovery, or copyrightable materials. In defining the mutual responsibilities and rights, the following principles and procedures are to be followed:

Mutual Responsibilities and Rights
Title to all inventions, discoveries, or copyrightable materials developed solely through individual initiative or personal time, and not involving assignment or the significant use of RSCC facilities or services (Library excluded), shall be vested in the employee and/or student producing the patentable or copyrightable materials. Furthermore, the general obligation of faculty members to produce scholarly and creative works shall not for purposes of this policy be construed as an institutional assignment affecting title claims to inventions, discoveries, or copyrightable materials. Significant use of institutional facilities, services, or equipment shall be defined to include a cost to the institution in the amount of $2,500 or more (in constant 2001 dollars).

Applications for the Titles of Patents and Copyrights
Subject to the approval of the Chancellor or his designated representative, Roane State Community College is authorized to seek and hold patents and copyrights, to assign their rights, and to execute royalty-sharing agreement. The RSCC share of income accruing from patents and copyrights (net of costs incurred for obtaining, licensing, or administering the patents and copyrights) is to be deposited in a restricted account. Funds in this account are to be used solely for the enhancement of research and instructional programs.

In evaluating inventions, discoveries, and copyrightable materials, filing patents and copyrights applications, and licensing and administration of patents and copyrights, Roane State Community College is authorized to obtain outside services from independent patents and copyrights assistance organizations.

Disclosure
Prior to seeking patents, copyrights, or commercial exploitation, RSCC employees and/or students shall disclose to the President, all inventions, discoveries, and copyrightable materials which are derived from work supported by or through the institution, or which involved a significant use of the institution's resources. The President will refer disclosures concerning inventions, discoveries, and copyrightable materials to the RSCC Advisory Committee on Patents and Copyrights.

Advisory Committee on Patents and Copyrights
A standing committee of six faculty and one staff member shall be established at RSCC. To the extent possible, members of the committee shall be experienced in research, innovation, and production of copyrighted materials. The faculty members of the committee will be appointed by the Faculty Council at the council's first meeting of each academic year. The President will appoint the staff member no later than September 30 of each year. The committee shall annually elect a chairperson whose responsibilities will include record keeping. A written record of all committee actions will be kept on file in the Office of the President. Responsibilities and general process guidelines for the Advisory Committee are as follows:

  1. The Committee shall advise the President in all matters relating to this policy.
  2. The Committee shall conduct such investigation as may be necessary to assess the rights and responsibilities of all parties.
  3. The Committee shall receive from the President referral of any disclosure made by RSCC employees concerning inventions, discoveries, and copyrightable materials.
  4. Within 5 working days of receiving a referral as stated in c) above, the Committee shall begin efforts to determine the extent to which the invention, discovery, or copyrightable materials resulted from institutional or other sponsorship, or involved a significant use of institutional resources.
  5. The Committee will advise the President of its findings within 20 working days of commencement of its investigation. However, in the event of mutual agreement of the President, the Committee, and the employee, this time limit may be extended.
  6. The Committee may advise the President as follows:
    1. If the Committee establishes that no institutional or external sponsorship or no significant use of institutional resources were involved, it shall advise the institution to waive all claims.
    2. If the Committee establishes that institutional sponsorship, external sponsorship, or significant use of institutional resources were involved, it shall so advise the President.
    3. If the Committee establishes that external sponsorship was involved, it shall determine the terms of the sponsorship agreement as it relates to patents and copyrights and advise the President and those providing disclosure of such terms. Where the terms of the external sponsorship do not provide for the disposition of patents and copyrights, Roane State Community College and Board of Regents policies shall be followed.
    4. In all cases where Roane State Community College requires the assignment of patents and copyrights to it, or when the institution assigns its rights to the person disclosing discoveries or copyrightable materials, and when institutional sponsorship or significant use of institutional resources were involved, the Patents and Copyrights Committee shall recommend to the President a royalty-sharing arrangement. The recommended agreement should take into account contributions by the individual and the institution (see the Royalty-Sharing Agreements section).
    5. All sections and recommendations of the committee shall be voted on by roll call. A secret ballot voting process must be used if requested by any committee member. A quorum of four or more members is required to be present at any meeting for voting on actions and recommendations. All actions and recommendations must be approved by a majority (4) of all the members of the committee.

Role of the President Relative to Patents and Copyrights
The President will receive from Roane State Community College employees and/or students disclosure concerning inventions, discoveries, and copyrightable materials. Following receipt, the following process is applicable:

  1. The President shall within ten working days refer the disclosure to the Advisory Committee on Patents and Copyrights and request its study and recommendations.
  2. On receiving recommendations from the Advisory Committee, the President within ten working days will inform the Committee and the employed individual who has interest in the patent or copyright as follows:
    1. If the Committee recommends that Roane State Community College waive all claims, the President will indicate whether or not he concurs and whether or not the institution waives all claims.
    2. If the Committee advises the President that institutional sponsorship, external sponsorship, or significant use of institutional resources were involved, the President will indicate whether or not the institution intends to hold and pursue its rights.
    3. If the Committee advises the President of a royalty-sharing arrangement, the President will indicate whether or not the institution accepts the recommended arrangement.

Royalty-Sharing Agreements
In considering a royalty-sharing agreement, the President will take into account contributions by the individual and by the institution. The shares of the parties are to be based on the relative contributions of the parties to the invention, discovery, or copyrightable materials developed. The royalties shall be shared, net of the costs of obtaining, licensing, and administering the patents and copyrights, and the agreement shall be approved by the President and the Chancellor or his designated representative. In no case shall the employee's share of the net royalties be less than 25 percent. Where institutional sponsorship or significant institutional resources were involved, the agreement shall also provide for reservation to the Board of Regents of a nonexclusive, irrevocable license to the invention, discovery, or copyrightable materials with power to grant the licenses for all governmental and educational purposes.

If the content of materials developed by a RSCC employee, and for which RSCC holds a copyright, is changed during the period of the original copyright, the authors shall have the options of being credited, or not credited, for the materials retained. Such action shall not abrogate any royalty-sharing agreement.

Nothing in this policy shall preclude mutually agreed on contractual arrangements between the institution and members of the community wherein either party may agree to waive rights to patents, discoveries, or copyrightable items. All employees shall cooperate with the institution in obtaining patents and copyrights, including the execution of all necessary documents.

Appeal Procedure
Upon receipt of the President's decision related to rights and royalty-sharing agreements, the RSCC employee in question shall have thirty calendar days in which to file a formal written appeal. The President shall within five working days appoint a special committee to investigate and advise regarding the appeal. Within fifteen calendar days following the end of the thirty-day period, the President shall make known his decision concerning the appeal. If appropriate, the final decision by the President may be appealed to the Board of Regents in accordance with TBR Policy No. 1:02:11:00 - Appeals Policy.

Effective Date of this Policy
This policy becomes effective upon approval by the Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

TBR Policy Supersedes
If there are any conflicts or contradictions between this institutional policy and that of the Tennessee Board of Regents the TBR policy should be followed.

(Originally titled Patents and Copyrights)

Revision History: 07/01/1995, 01/27/2009
TBR Policy Reference: 5:01:06:00
Revision Date Effective: 01/27/2009
Revision Approval By: Gary Goff, President
Original Date Effective: 02/20/1989
Original Approval By: Sherry L. Hoppe, President
Office Responsible: Vice President Student Learning
Reviewed: 03/13/2014
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