University of Saskatchewan

September 19, 2014   

Intellectual Property and Publication

The function of a university is the training of scholars and the maintenance of the tradition of learning and investigation. The university provides an environment conducive to scholarship, teaching and learning, discussion and debate. Its members need and are expected to comment and to criticize. This need is reflected in the tradition of academic freedom. A public university also has the duty to educate and provide knowledge to the society in which it exists. The University of Saskatchewan encourages the use of its resources to study existing knowledge and cultural property, to create intellectual property, and to integrate such creativity with scholarly activity so that its stated objectives in pursuit of academic excellence and leadership in society can be achieved. The University recognizes that cultural and intellectual property has value.

    Intellectual Property

    Intellectual property is the term used to describe the creative results of research and scholarly activity which may have immediate realizable value or value upon further development and commercial use or production. It may take various forms, such as patentable discoveries and inventions, copyrightable works (books, painting, photographs, computing software, graphics, etc.) non-patentable technical know-how and trade secrets. Ownership of intellectual property vests in the creator but is assignable. University faculty and staff assign certain intellectual property ownership rights to the University on appointment.

    By definition, within the terms of grant funding, any Intellectual Property (“IP”) rights remain with the University. In a contract however, the IP rights should be defined and are typically open for negotiation with the sponsor. Research Services regularly reviews IP terms as part of negotiating research agreements. The University Industry Liaison Office is the unit with the responsibility of negotiating stand-alone IP agreements for University research and handling technology transfer activities. Research Services works closely with ILO on IP matters and the Principal Investigator may expect both units to be involved where IP is a significant concern.

    Principal Investigators should be aware that IP concerns can arise very early in discussions with potential sponsors. ILO should be consulted about confidentiality/non-disclosure issues when novel research that may be patentable is likely to be discussed.


    No publication restrictions by the sponsoring agency are allowed under the terms of grant funding. Under contract research, the University must be free to submit for publication research results after a stated period, normally not longer than 12 months from termination of the project or submission of a final report, whichever is later.

    Where graduate students are involved in a research project, it must be agreed to by the sponsor that the student is allowed to publish their work in their thesis. At the request of a sponsoring agency and with the student's permission, a thesis may be withheld from deposit in the University Library for up to twelve (12) months. All publication deferrals of research involving graduate students' thesis beyond the normal limit must be approved by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research. If a graduate student will be participating in research funded under a contract, it is critically important that the Principal Investigator advise Research Services prior to the contract being negotiated and signed.