17. Intellectual Property Rights of Students

Intellectual property means the tangible or communicable results of literary, artistic and scientific endeavor and can be intellectual, material or cultural products. It includes, among others, works in the form of books; monographs; papers; journal and magazine articles; theses and technical reports; paintings; drawings and sculpture; artistic performances; film, video and audio recordings; computer software; inventions; industrial design; trademarks; plant breeders rights; know-how; and biological materials.

Intellectual Property may be held individually, collectively or jointly by persons or other entities. Protected Intellectual Property may, like any other asset, be bought or sold, leased, and/or shared. Licensing is the mechanism by which this is accomplished. Licensing Intellectual Property is the act of giving someone permission to use the property, subject to the owner receiving valuable consideration in return (e.g., a royalty). Assigning Intellectual Property rights is the act of giving them to another person or entity; it is a transfer of ownership. Permission to use Intellectual Property may, but does not necessarily, include the transfer of money.

Most Intellectual Property can be either protected under copyright or, in the case of inventions, through patents.

17.1. Copyright

Copyright is an exclusive property right to publish, produce, reproduce, translate, broadcast, adapt or perform a work, as defined by the Copyright Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. C-42, as amended.) Canadian copyright law applies to all original literary, scholarly, dramatic, musical, and artistic works and recordings and software.

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17.1.1. Graduate Students as Copyright Holders

Copyright rests with a graduate student providing that he/she works independently of collaborators, including the research supervisor(s) and the financial sponsor(s) of research programs; the work is not part of a graduate student's assigned duties as part of a research grant or contract under the supervision of faculty members, or as part of the assigned duties related to Graduate Teaching or Graduate Research Fellowships from the University. The graduate student is then the sole copyright holder of the following:

  1. material and ideas submitted in course work or presented in seminars and thesis developed as part of the academic program of the student;
  2. lectures developed and delivered by the graduate student;
  3. printed works (books, articles and similar materials) written by the graduate student;
  4. artistic works (paintings, sculptures, musical compositions and the like) created by the graduate student;
  5. computer programs developed by the graduate student;
  6. recorded works (films, video tapes, audio recordings, etc.) created by the graduate student.

Copyright exists as soon as a copyrightable work is created. Ownership of copyright should be indicated on the title page by placing a copyright symbol in front of the owner's name, followed by the year.

The CGSR shall provide instructions on accessibility to and use of graduate theses prepared at the University of Saskatchewan. Permission granted to allow accessibility and use of a thesis does not constitute an assignment of Intellectual Property rights to the University. The discretion always remains with a graduate student to assign to the University the copyright in a created work.

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17.1.2. Copyright and Subsequent Use of Theses and Projects

As a condition for the award of a degree, the student shall give permission to the University Library to make the thesis available for inspection and to the supervisor of the research and to the academic unit in which the research was done to copy and to circulate the thesis for scholarly purposes only, and to make use of material and ideas included in the thesis in the preparation of papers for publication.

Following successful defence of the thesis, students shall grant permission to the University to use the thesis in accordance with full respect of students' copyright. Where circumstances warrant, theses may be withheld from circulation for up to three (3) years.

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17.1.3. Graduate Students as Co-Authors

Students who have made a contribution to a work being reported in a presentation, publication and/or artistic performance, either in the conception, design, or execution of the experimental work, interpretation of data or drafting an article/presentation, shall be included as an author or given other appropriate acknowledgement. Authorship on a paper shall be attributed to those persons who have made substantive contributions (as described by the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy) to a paper, and only those persons.

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17.1.4. Royalties from Copyright Materials

A graduate student is entitled to receive any and all royalties on copyrighted work for which he/she is the exclusive owner. Royalties on copyrighted works that are produced as part of the graduate student's assigned duties shall be shared equally between the joint owners of the copyrighted works in proportion to their contributions and the University (i.e., 50% to the joint owners and 50% to the University), or other such sharing arrangement as may be approved by the joint owners and the University.

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17.1.5. Graduate Students as Users of Copyrighted Works

Plagiarism is "the appropriation or imitation of language, ideas, and thoughts of another author, and representation of them as one's original work."[1] Copying excerpts for term papers, thesis or article, or excerpts from unpublished and published works to be included in a thesis or article need to be acknowledged.  Where required the permission of the holder of copyright must be obtained. Graduate students are expected to be familiar with University policies governing plagiarism.

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17.1.6. Graduate Students and Research Contracts/Collaborative Projects

Graduate students may be involved in research activities that are contractual in nature. Such contracts, when authorized by the University, contain provisions relating to Intellectual Property. In some cases, all Intellectual Property created or reduced to practice under such contract relationships may be owned entirely by the sponsor and may contain clauses that delay or prevent the publication and/or use of the Intellectual Property.

Faculty supervisors shall inform graduate students working under their supervision of any restrictions on use of or access to Intellectual Property as a result of contractual relationships between the University and an external sponsor. Restrictions to access of use of student-developed Intellectual Property shall not interfere with a student satisfying degree requirements.

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17.2. Inventions

The word invention as used here shall mean any new and useful art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement in any art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, and shall include industrial design and know-how.

The term know-how will mean all technical information, whether reduced to writing or oral, including, but not limited to, research and field reports and data and conclusions relative to a particular development or method and also including any information which is or could be useful to the engineering, design, manufacture, construction, operation or use of that particular development or method.

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17.2.1. Graduate Students as Inventors

The student creator is responsible for determining the best form of protection (e.g., patent, confidential non-disclosure agreements, trade secrets).

Graduate students may undertake a research project for their thesis which is part of a much larger research project continuing over several years and patent application[s] may not be filed during the period of such students' programs. In such cases, those claiming ownership of Intellectual Property and the University have the responsibility to recognize appropriately all contributions to the invention.

Graduate students may ask that the CGSR keep their thesis confidential for a period of up to 12 months in cases where a patent application or other form of IP protection is being sought. The 12 month period cannot be extended except in extraordinary circumstances which are justified in full and explicit terms.

The underlying obligations in University Policy that apply to inventions and discoveries arising from the individual’s duties and activities, or which are made using University equipment and/or facilities, are extended to graduate students. As such, all discoveries and inventions shall be disclosed to the University Industry Liaison Office (ILO) promptly in writing.

The creator(s) shall assign the Intellectual Property to the ILO, and ILO shall incur all expenses related to protection and commercialization. back to top

17.3. Retention/Maintenance of Records

Graduate students shall keep complete, dated records of their research in the form of bound notebooks, log books, laboratory records or other documentation, as appropriate to the discipline. Students shall retain copies of significant drafts and notes, and of all material submitted for evaluation, presentation, and publication or by the way of informal contribution to collaborative research projects. Raw data and other research results shall remain accessible at all times to all other members of any collaborative research activity.

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17.4. Agreements Between the University, Supervisors, and Graduate Students

The University undertakes to ensure that the student's rights to Intellectual Property developed solely by the student or in co-operation with the supervisor and/or other members of the research team will be protected and commercialized in the same manner and with the same benefits as if the student were an employee of the University . Where Intellectual Property is the product of joint work, all co-discoverers are obliged to make an assignment to the University.

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17.5. Agreements Between Sponsoring Agencies and Graduate Students

Graduate students shall consult with their faculty advisors and the CGSR prior to signing any agreement with a sponsoring agency or industry regarding the assignment of intellectual property or proprietary information.

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17.6. Dispute Resolution

In cases where disputes arise among graduate students or between graduate students and supervisors over respective rights dealing with Intellectual Property, the parties shall attempt to resolve the questions in an informal manner, with the assistance of the academic unit Head and/or Dean, CGSR, or their designates.

Should the resolution of the matter be considered unsolvable at this level, the matter will be referred to a Committee of the Graduate Council of the CGSR, comprised of four members plus the chair who will be the Director of Research Services. Two of the four committee members will be elected following nominations from the CGSR Nominating Committee; and two positions, defined as Graduate Student Association representatives, shall be elected following nomination from the CGSR Nominating Committee and consultation with the Graduate Student Association. Resolution of the matter will be decided by a majority vote, with the chair breaking any tie which arises. Committee members must be full-time employees or full-time students of the University.

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17.7. Policy Implementation and Administration

The policy on intellectual property shall be administered jointly by the Office of Research Services and the CGSR with the assistance and collaboration of the Industry Liaison Office where appropriate.

The Industry Liaison Office shall report semi-annually to the Office of Research Services and the CGSR on disclosures made by graduate students and the disposition of such disclosures.

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