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Resources and Reports

CWUP 2-40-150 Patents

(1) Basic Philosophy Pertaining to Inventions and Patent Registrations - Central Washington University encourages and supports individual and group research effort as an advocate for staff inventors. Scientific inquiry is expressly endorsed by Central Washington University. The intent of the following patent policy is to maximize rewards for inventions as well as to protect the legitimate interests of the inventor(s) and the university. This patent policy is based upon the premise that successful development of patent rights requires full cooperation of all concerned. Further, it is a university objective as a state institution to bring university research discoveries into public use.

(2) Definitions Pertaining to Patents and Inventions

(A) Inventions or technological improvements to which these policies apply include any new and useful process, machine, device, manufacture, or composition of matter, and any new and useful inventions or technological improvements.

(B) Educational and professional materials to which these policies and procedures apply, whether or not the materials are copyrightable, are those used or distributed primarily for the formal or informal instruction or education of professional or general students. Such materials may result from the instructional, research or public service activities of employees.

(C) Inventor means the individual who first conceived the idea, invention, or technological improvement.

(D) Author means the individual responsible for primary subject matter guidance and development of educational professional materials.

(E) Material is said to be in the public domain if it is not protected by common law or statutory copyright and, therefore, is available for copying without infringement.

(F) Publication occurs when by consent of the copyright owner, the original or tangible copies of a work are sold, leased, loaned, given away, or otherwise made available to the general public, or when an authorized offer is made to dispose of the work in any such manner, even if a sale or other disposition does not in fact occur.

(G) The term "owner" refers to the party who owns or controls the rights to copyrightable material, whether under copyright or otherwise, and who has the right to sell, assign, distribute, or license the use of such material.

(3) General Procedures Governing Patents and Inventions

(A) The patent policy of Central Washington University is applicable to all of its colleges, schools, and departments and to all members of its faculty and staff. It will be the responsibility of the patent governing committee to disseminate this patent policy to members of the faculty and staff, but failure of the university to secure a signed agreement in no way affects the responsibilities or obligations ofeither party.

(B) The university retains legal title to all inventions, improvements and discoveries created by a member of the faculty or by any person associated with the university arising out of his employment or created through use of time, facilities, equipment and/or materials owned or paid for by or through the university.

(C) Assignment of Rights - As a condition of employment every university employee shall comply with the patent policy of the university and shall agree to assign to the university, to a patent development agency designated by the university, or to the sponsoring agency if required under agreements governing the research, any and all inventions made while an employee of the university in which the university has an interest. In addition, all employees shall agree to execute such documents of assignment at the time a patent application is forwarded to the U.S. Patent Office and to do everything that may reasonably be required to assist all assignees to obtain, protect, and maintain patent rights.

(D) Research Financed by Outside Sponsors - Research work financed wholly or in part by an outside sponsor comes under the special provisions of the grant or contractgoverning such work. All faculty or staff members engaged in such research work are bound by the provisions incorporated in the agreement covering the work. Certain sponsored research contracts with the federal government may provide that all patent rights belong to the federal government. In such circumstances all costs of filing and prosecuting a patent application will be paid by the federal government.

(E) Consulting Work - Any faculty or staff member who is engaged in consulting work should use care in determining that patent clauses in his consulting agreements are not in conflict with the patent policy of the university or with university commitments under sponsored grants or contracts.

Questions concerning potential conflicts should be referred to the university patent governing committee.

(F) Inventions Developed Outside University Employment - The university has no vested interest in inventions discovered by faculty or staff members entirely on their own time and without the use of university facilities. In order to help clarify the inventor's title to such inventions, as well as to comply fully with the requirements of the sponsoring agencies, all inventions discovered by a faculty or a staff member during his employment with the university shall be reported to the university patent governing committee for determination of the degree of university interest.

(G) Release of Invention Rights to Investors - If the university determines that it has no interest in an invention or decides to forego the patenting of an invention, it shall formally waive its rights to the invention. Such waiver shall not be granted until any pre-existing commitments to sponsoring agencies are cleared. Upon the receipt of such waiver, the inventor shall be free to take such steps as he may wish.

(H) Resolution of Differences - In the event of any differences between this university and an inventor which cannot be reconciled by direct negotiation, the matter shall be submitted for binding arbitration to a special three-man panel consisting of one person representing the inventor, one person representing the university administration, and a third member designated by the first two. Decisions of the panel will be binding on both parties. The panel shall have full access to any records over which the inventor or the university has jurisdiction.

(I) Each university faculty and staff member is also required to promptly inform the chair of the patent governing committee of the university concerning all seemingly worthwhile inventions, improvements, and discoveries, to reasonably cooperate with and assist the patent officer in the handling of such matters, to follow proper procedures for obtaining, utilizing, and enforcing patent protection on such matters, and to abide by the patent policy of the university in effect during his respective associations with the university.

(J) All matters relating to the creation, handling, and use of intellectual property, including inventions and patents, in which the university is in any way concerned, shall be administered by the patent governing committee. Disclaimer patent and invention statements required on research, training, or restricted projects will be governed by the patent governing committee.

(K) The university in its sole discretion may cause applications or patents to be filed upon inventions in any country. The university has the sole right to negotiate and enter into licensing and other agreements covering the manufacture, use and/or sale of products and/or space processes based on university-owned intellectual property. The university will pay all expenses required to both obtain and exploit patent protection on such an invention in the best public interest and will pay for any subsequent legal action which is deemed advisable to protect its acquired patent rights.

(L) Students employed by the university in any capacity are covered by the terms of this policy. In addition, where a student receives financial aid or remuneration under a sponsored research, training, or fellowship program, his rights in any invention may be limited by the terms of the university agreement with the sponsoring agency. The university shall have no vested interest in inventions developed by students who are not employees unless commitments to sponsoring agencies and/or use of university-funded materials and facilities are involved.

(4) Patent Policy Administration

(A) A patent governing committee for administration of policy pertinent to inventions will be established and consist of the following persons:

Dean of Graduate Studies and Research (Chair)
President or his designee 
Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Three faculty members

(B) The dean of graduate studies and research will have authority to obtain licensing, production, publishing agreements and patents, develop and approve forms used in administering licensing and patent policies, and execute all types of agreements, waivers, releases, and new royalty distribution agreements upon approval by the patent governing committee.

(C) The patent governing committee will have the authority to approve agreements with sponsoring agencies and to include therein provisions regarding ownership and disposition of rights in inventions and materials deemed to be in the interest of the faculty, the institution and public.

(D) The duties of the patent governing committee shall be:

1. To protect confidentiality of the invention's disclosure.
2. To counsel with the inventor, examine the invention or materials disclosure, and appraise the equities of all concerned parties. If it is determined that the institution and board have no rights, vested interest, or claim, the committee or administrator shall recommend that the university grant a release or waiver for the inventor or author.
3. To counsel with the inventor concerning policies and procedures applicable to the invention or material and with policies of sponsoring agencies, if any, and to assist with compliance.
4. To recommend options for maximizing public, institution and inventor benefits when seeking licenses, patents, and publishing agreements. Such action shall be preceded by the execution by an inventor licensing and patent assignment agreement initiated by the university.
5. To recommend action pertaining to the invention or material as soon as possible after its disclosure.
6. The patent governing committee, after consulting with the inventor and the university's legal counsel, may use a patent development agency such as Research Corporation or Battelle Development Corporation for evaluation and commercial development of the invention. Contacts between the inventor and the patent development agency will be coordinated by the patent governing committee.

Direct consultation between the patent development agency and the inventor may be suggested on technical matters.

7. When institutional funds and facilities are utilized to develop educational, professional or copyrightable material or to develop an invention, a patent agreement shall be established by the patent governing committee. Such an agreement shall be executed in advance of the use of facilities whenever possible, and shall set forth the understanding regarding the use of facilities, ownership rights, and financial arrangements.

(5) Exclusions Pertaining to Patent Policy

(A) An invention made by a person wholly on his/her own time and without the use of facilities at Central Washington University shall belong to that person even though it falls within the field of competence relating to the person's employment or work assignment at Central Washington University. This provision shall also apply to any invention made by a person in the course of private consulting services carried out by the person in conformance with the university's policy on professional consulting and additional workload without the use of university funds or facilities. In order to help clarify the title to such inventions, all inventions discovered by a faculty or staff member shall be reported to the university patent governing committee for determination of the degree of university interest.

(B) The granting of professional leave or leave of absence initiated by a faculty or staff member does not create a university commission for material which may result, unless there is a prior written agreement so specifying. In the absence of such an agreement, the rights and royalties of copyrighted materials resulting from such leaves shall reside with the originator.

(C) The university claims no right in or to any invention originated by such faculty members or persons as a result of university approved private consulting services without use of university facilities.

(D) Lecture notes and other materials prepared by academic staff in connection with a teaching assignment shall usually be construed as having been produced in the course of discharging the obligations of employment.

(E) If it is determined that inventions or materials developed are not related to work or to an assigned project and that development involved no or minimal use of institutional funds or facilities, or that the material developed is incidental to the individual's work assignment, or that the institution has no right, vested interest, or claim in an invention, and the institution decides to forego the licensing or patenting of an invention or the publishing and copyrighting of the material, the president or designee may recommend to the dean of graduate studies and research or designee that the institution's interest and rights be waived and that a statement be issued which waives any institution claim. Such a waiver may be granted only if pre-existing commitments to sponsoring agencies have been cleared. Upon receipt of such waiver, the inventor or author shall be free to take such further steps as desired. In the case of an invention, however, the institution has usually provided substantial laboratory, supply and equipment support. Therefore, the president or designee will normally recommend the execution of a limited release only after the institution has exhausted efforts to license or patent the invention. This release enables the inventor to exploit the invention and recover reasonable exploitation, licensing, and patenting costs related thereto out of the royalty income receipts, with the inventor and the university sharing in the balance of the new royalty income in accordance with 2-10-070 (4).

(F) Funds and facilities provided by governmental, commercial, industrial, or other public or private organizations, but administered and controlled by the institution, shall be considered to be funds and facilities provided by or through the institution.

(6) Division of Royalties

(A) When royalty or other revenue is received by the university as a result of successful commercialization of an invention for which it has title, the university will share such revenue with the inventor/employee. Both the university and the inventor have a claim on royalty income: The university on the basis of salary and facilities support for the inventor and the cost of patent administration; and the inventor on the basis of creative activity and extra efforts, if any, of documentation. To recognize this creative activity, and to encourage the prompt disclosure of all inventions, the university policy is to allocate the greater share of the royalty income to the inventor at the beginning, according to the following schedule, after first deducting a service charge of 15% from the total:

Net Royalty / Income* / Inventor / University
First / 5,000 / 100% / -0-
Next / 15,000 / 50% / 50%
All Over / 20,000 / 30% / 70%

*Net Royalty Income = Gross Royalty Minus All Expenses

(B) Royalty payments related to inventions developed with the assistance of federal funds will be subject to any limitations on the division of royalties that are imposed on the university by the applicable agencies of the federal government.

(C) The university budget committee will determine the distribution of the university's share of net royalty income.

[PAC: 7/91]