Manual of Policies and Procedures

D/3.1 Intellectual property

Contact Officer

Director, Office of Commercial Services

Approval Date

30/09/2015

Approval Authority

Council

Date of Next Review

30/09/2017

3.1.1 Principles
3.1.2 Definitions
3.1.3 Roles and responsibilities
3.1.4 Ownership of intellectual property generated by staff
3.1.5 Copyright in scholarly works
3.1.6 Intellectual property in QUT education resources
3.1.7 Intellectual property generated by students
3.1.8 Intellectual property created by visitors (including adjunct, conjoint and honorary roles)
3.1.9 Commercialisation and commercialisation revenue
3.1.10 Transfer of rights to creators
3.1.11 Moral rights
3.1.12 Traditional knowledge
3.1.13 Dispute resolution
3.1.14 Breaches of the policy
3.1.15 Conflict of interest
Related Documents
Modification History

3.1.1 Principles

QUT commits to undertaking its research and innovation activities in an accountable, ethical and socially responsible manner. QUT’s key ambition in research and innovation is to undertake high impact research in selected areas to secure significant public, commercial and practical benefits for the community and for its partners. To meet this objective, QUT implements strategies to commercialise its research outputs where possible, to promote knowledge transfer and to encourage the uptake of research by end users. This is achieved in a variety of ways including consultancies, customised education, and the pursuit of research that positively impacts the community.

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3.1.2 Definitions

commercialisation expenses means the expenses incurred by QUT or qutbluebox in the production, development, protection, marketing and commercialisation of QUT intellectual property.

commercialisation revenue means the gross cash revenue received by QUT or qutbluebox from the commercialisation of QUT intellectual property and does not include payments pursuant to a research or consulting agreement or payments used to subscribe for equity in a company.

contributor means any other staff member, student or visitor (D/3.1.8) who has substantially assisted with the development of QUT intellectual property other than a creator, as determined by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation).

creator means a staff member, student or visitor (D/3.1.8) who creates QUT intellectual property, and includes inventors of patentable subject matter, authors of works and makers of other subject matter subject to copyright and designers of industrial designs.

“intellectual property” under this policy covers registrable and non-registrable intellectual property rights and proprietary knowledge such as confidential information, know-how and trade secrets.

“net commercialisation revenue” means commercialisation revenue less commercialisation expenses in relation to a particular item or related items of intellectual property.

“QUT intellectual property” is intellectual property owned by, assigned or licensed to QUT. This includes intellectual property created by staff during their course of employment at QUT or assigned to QUT by staff, students, visitors or third parties.

“scholarly works” are QUT intellectual property in the form of articles (refereed or un-refereed), books or book chapters, manuals, musical compositions or creative writing, or any digital or electronic version of these. Computer programs, education resources or administration material are not treated as scholarly works under this policy.

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3.1.3 Roles and responsibilities

Persons dealing with QUT intellectual property

All staff, students and visitors generating intellectual property in the course of their QUT employment or association with QUT, have an obligation to comply with the specific requirements of this policy and other relevant policies such as the QUT Code of Conduct (B/8.1) and QUT Code of Conduct for Research (D/2.6.5).

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation)

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) has a general role in developing QUT’s research capacity and ensuring that research innovations with commercial relevance are exploited to their full potential. As part of this role, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) is responsible for formulation and approval of protocols and guidelines to implement this policy, and for the management of disputes arising under this policy.

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3.1.4 Ownership of intellectual property generated by staff

In accordance with general law principles, QUT as an employer owns all intellectual property created by senior staff, academic and professional staff members in the course of their employment. Intellectual property created in pursuance of or incidental to the performance of a staff member’s QUT employment contract is considered to have been created in the course of employment whether or not a staff member’s express duties include a duty to develop intellectual property.

This ownership exists as a matter of law, and does not require any further documentation from staff members. However, staff may be required to formally sign documents to more fully record QUT’s ownership of QUT intellectual property, for example, to enable patent applications to be made.

All research data must be managed in accordance with relevant policies, including Management of research data (D/2.8).

QUT does not own intellectual property created by staff members outside the course of their employment.

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3.1.5 Copyright in scholarly works

Provided that QUT or qutbluebox does not have contractual obligations to a third party which would prevent QUT affecting such a transfer of rights, the University:

  • assigns the right to publish scholarly works to the creator(s) of that work. This assignment is subject to a perpetual, irrevocable, world-wide, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence in favour of QUT to allow QUT to use that work for educational, research, and commercialisation purposes and make it available via its institutional repository (F/1.3 QUT ePrints repository for research output); and
  • QUT grants each staff member a non-exclusive, royalty free, perpetual, irrevocable, world-wide transferable right to use, adapt or modify their scholarly works.

In appropriate circumstances, QUT will sign documents to more fully record the staff member’s ownership of the right of publication of the copyright in a scholarly work and QUT’s non-exclusive licence to that work.

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3.1.6 Intellectual property in QUT education resources

In line with section D/3.1.4 above, QUT owns the intellectual property in QUT education resources (including online education resources). This ensures the University has the unrestricted ability to use QUT education resources for its teaching, research and training responsibilities.

QUT consents to the use of QUT education resources by staff to fulfil their teaching, research and training responsibilities at QUT. This use does not include any use for commercial purposes nor does it involve a transfer of ownership of QUT intellectual property.

Unless subject to a confidentiality or separate legal constraint, QUT recognises that staff may personally use knowledge they have developed in the course of their employment at QUT, once that employment ceases. That right does not extend to the reproduction of QUT education resources unless released under a separate license.

Guidelines for licensing of QUT education resources as open education resources or under another types of non-monetized licences are approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching).

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3.1.7 Intellectual property generated by students

A student under this policy means a person enrolled as a student of QUT, or in a course or program of study conducted by or on behalf of QUT, at the time they create intellectual property. Students personally own the intellectual property that they generate.

In order to participate in certain projects students may need to assign their interest in the intellectual property to QUT. The research thesis principal supervisor and the relevant executive dean or institute director (or delegate) is responsible for identifying circumstances when the assignment of student intellectual property is appropriate, in particular, where the project is externally funded or where the project has clear commercialisation potential or objectives.

An assignment to QUT of student intellectual property:

  • will not extend to copyright in the student’s thesis (the student will retain ownership of the copyright in the thesis)
  • will not unreasonably impede the student submitting a thesis for examination and being able to complete the requirements for the award of a degree
  • will provide for a student to be eligible to become a creator and/or a contributor along with other QUT creators and/or contributors, and if so, to receive a share of net commercialisation revenues; and
  • will require the student to observe any obligations of confidentiality in relation to the project.

To protect student interests, and in recognition of the different considerations which apply to student intellectual property, a Student Intellectual Property Protocol, approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation), sets out the mechanisms to implement these principles.

Licensing of students’ scholarly works and theses

Students grant QUT a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to communicate peer-reviewed articles via the institutional repository and library (F/1.3 QUT ePrints repository for research output).

Higher Degree Research students grant QUT a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to communicate their submitted thesis via the digital repository and library.

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3.1.8 Intellectual property created by visitors (including adjunct, conjoint and honorary roles)

Ownership and rights relating to intellectual property brought to QUT or generated while at QUT by a visitor (that is, any person other than a staff member or student who takes part in any research or scholarly activity at QUT, including a person holding an adjunct, conjoint or honorary role at QUT) should be resolved through negotiation between QUT and the visitor or other third parties such as the visitor’s employer before the visit or appointment commences at QUT. This process should be initiated by QUT, and may necessitate negotiation between QUT and the owner of the intellectual property.

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3.1.9 Commercialisation and commercialisation revenue

Obligations of creators and contributors

All creators of and contributors to QUT intellectual property with commercialisation potential must identify, keep confidential, be involved in and facilitate the commercialisation of intellectual property. In particular, all have a specific duty to fully disclose QUT intellectual property with potential commercial value, to the relevant executive dean in the case of education resources or to QUT’s subsidiary company, qutbluebox Pty Ltd in the case of other QUT intellectual property.

Commercialisation of QUT intellectual property (education resources)

Any commercialisation of QUT education resources will be done by QUT through the Office of Commercial Services as determined by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) in consultation with the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the relevant executive dean.

Any distribution to creators and contributors from net commercialisation revenue received from commercialisation of education resources will be determined by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) in consultation with the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the relevant executive dean.

Commercialisation of QUT intellectual property (other than education resources)

Commercialisation of QUT intellectual property (other than education resources) will be pursued through qutbluebox, which has the specific function of protecting and commercialising intellectual property developed at QUT (other than as noted above) and supporting creators in the recognition and identification of commercialisable intellectual property.

In the absence of any other agreement reached between the relevant parties the University will ensure that net commercialisation revenue (excluding that derived from the commercialisation of education resources) is distributed as follows:

  • one third between all of the creators and contributors
  • one third between the creators’ and contributors’ faculties, divisions or institutes for its use as the executive dean, head of division or institute director determines; and
  • one third to qutbluebox.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) will determine the proportionate distribution of revenue among the creators and contributors and among the faculties, divisions or institutes.

Subject to any existing agreements regarding revenue distributions, this policy will apply in relation to all net commercialisation revenue received by QUT or qutbluebox after this policy comes into effect, including under agreements made before this policy comes into effect. Distribution to a contributor under this policy shall not be affected by the death, resignation or retirement of the contributor.

The Commercialisation Protocol and Commercialisation Revenue Protocol, approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation), set out the obligations of creators and contributors, set out the mechanisms to implement these principles and define the commercialisation expenses, revenue and net commercialisation revenue which are taken into account in determining the revenue to be distributed.

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3.1.10 Transfer of rights to creators

Where qutbluebox advises it will not further pursue commercialisation of QUT intellectual property, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) may decide to License with an Option to Assign (LOA) QUT intellectual property to creators where it does not infringe a legal commitment to another party.

This decision to not further pursue commercialisation will be taken after assessing the commercialisation prospects for the intellectual property. This decision may be made only where the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation):

  • is satisfied that there has been full disclosure by the creators regarding the intellectual property; and
  • where the creators have fully cooperated with the assessment of the intellectual property by qutbluebox.

In general, the transfer of rights to creators will not be considered where:

  • a determination is made that the intellectual property requires further work before a proper assessment of commercialisation prospects; or
  • where there are significant negative impacts on future QUT research activities or the interests of other creators and/or contributors.

QUT may at its option impose a condition requiring the payment of a royalty to QUT by the creators in the event of future successful commercialisation outcomes.

Decisions on the transfer of rights to creators will be managed in accordance with the Transfer of Rights to Creators Protocol.

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3.1.11 Moral rights

The moral rights of the creator of works as specified in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) are, in summary:

  • the right of attribution of authorship in respect of the work
  • the right not to have authorship of the work falsely attributed; and
  • the right of integrity of authorship in respect of the work.

QUT shall take reasonable steps to respect moral rights and to ensure that others respect moral rights. However, QUT is not obliged to take action if the moral rights of authors are infringed.

QUT recognises that staff and students may retain moral rights in copyright works owned by QUT and may, in appropriate circumstances, ask creators to consent to certain uses of their work, where moral rights may be affected.

Further information on moral rights is available in the Moral Rights Guidelines.

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3.1.12 Traditional knowledge

Where the creation of QUT intellectual property involves the traditional interests or property of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and/or the use of traditional knowledge, QUT will take all reasonable steps to consult with the relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups and communities to ensure that any decisions taken on the protection, development and commercialisation of that intellectual property conforms with relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols and ethical guidelines.

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3.1.13 Dispute resolution

Determinations on matters relating to this policy are made by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation).

A person who does not agree with an intellectual policy determination, action or inaction on a matter relating to this policy must in the first instance notify the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) in writing of the dispute. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) will respond to that notice promptly.

If the concerned person is dissatisfied with the reply (or if the reply is not timely) the person should advise the Vice-Chancellor in writing of the unresolved dispute.

The Vice-Chancellor (or the Vice-Chancellor’s nominee) shall meet with the person and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) normally within five (5) working days from the date of being advised in writing of the unresolved dispute.

Prior to the meeting, the Vice-Chancellor shall advise the person of their right to be accompanied by a representative at that meeting. A representative for the purposes of this policy means a person chosen by the affected staff member to assist or represent them. At the choice of the staff member this person may be a union officer or official. The representative excludes a person who is currently practicing as a solicitor or barrister.

The Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) may seek assistance in investigating a dispute, as appropriate. That advice may be sought from:

  • qutbluebox on matters relating to exploitation or commercialisation of QUT intellectual property; or
  • a panel of up to 3 people, to report on matters raised by the dispute. This panel will be composed of such persons, from within and external to QUT, who by reason of their collective skills and expertise are able to consider the specific issue raised, and provide advice to the Vice-Chancellor (or nominee), as applicable.

The Vice-Chancellor shall respond to the written notice of dispute within thirty working days of receipt of the notice or shall inform the person of an alternative timeline for resolution. The final response of the Vice-Chancellor to the written notice of dispute shall conclude the matter.

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3.1.14 Breaches of the policy

Any breach of this policy or associated protocols by a staff member may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with QUT’s provisions on disciplinary action for misconduct and serious misconduct (B/8.5) for senior staff, or the relevant Enterprise Agreement for academic or professional staff (B/1.1).

Any breach of this policy or associated protocols by a student may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with QUT’s Management of student misconduct (E/8.1).

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3.1.15 Conflict of interest

The management of any potential conflict of interest shall be undertaken in accordance with QUT’s Conflict of interest policy (B/8.7).

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Related Documents

MOPP Appendix 3 Schedule of Authorities and Delegations

MOPP A/8.3 QUT Reconciliation Statement

MOPP B/8.1 QUT Staff Code of Conduct

MOPP B/8.5 Disciplinary action for misconduct and serious misconduct – senior staff

MOPP B/8.7 Conflict of interest

MOPP D/2.6 QUT Code of Conduct for Research

MOPP D/2.8 Management of research data

MOPP D/7.1 Outside work - academic staff

MOPP E/8.1 Management of student misconduct

MOPP F/1.3 QUT ePrints repository for research output

MOPP F/5.1 Copyright

Circuit Layouts Act 1989 (Cth)

Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)

Designs Act 1906 (Cth)

Patents Act 1990 (Cth)

Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994 (Cth)

Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth)

Commercialisation IP Protocol (QUT staff and student access only)

Commercialisation Revenue Protocol (QUT staff and student access only)

Good Practice guidelines for Higher Degree Research Studies and Supervision at QUT (QUT staff and student access only)

Moral Rights Guidelines (QUT staff and student access only)

Student Intellectual Property Protocol (QUT staff and student access only)

Transfer of Rights to Creators Protocol (QUT staff and student access only)

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Modification History

Date Sections Source Details
30.09.15 All Council Revised policy
27.11.11 D/3.1.12 Vice-Chancellor Revised policy - minor editorial change to update references reflected in the new Enterprise Agreement

22.06.11

D/3.1.2, D/3.1.5

Council

Periodic review - minor changes

30.04.08

All

Council

Revised policy consistent with QUT’s revised commercialisation arrangements (endorsed by Planning and Resources Committee 16.04.08); policy renumbered to D/3.1 (formerly D/8.1)

06.12.04

D/8.1.6, D/8.1.7 (of former policy D/8.1)

Vice-Chancellor

Revised committee title - Intellectual Property Policy Committee (formerly Intellectual Property Committee)

10.12.03

D/8.1.7 (of former policy D/8.1)

Council

Authorised Vice-Chancellor, Registrar and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) to sign formal documentation relating to intellectual property rights of QUT.

03.09.03

All

Council

Approved new policy

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