Ownership of Student-Created Intellectual Property

See the WLU Ownership of Student-Created Intellectual Property policy.

Intellectual Property Rights of Student

  1. Students who submit work to the University (e.g. data sets, exams, tests, computer software, cases, projects, theses, dissertations, lab reports, cognate essays, research papers, musical scores, plays, lyrics, art work, poems, films, etc.) which is eligible for copyright protection, and which is submitted as a requirement of an academic program, are entitled to sole copyright ownership (see the current Graduate Calendar, "Requirements for Submitting the Master's thesis or Doctoral dissertation"). Works or parts of works created while employed by a professor or a contracting agency are not owned by the student (see #2).
  2. Students have no rights, unless by prior written agreement, to any intellectual property created because of being employed by the University or by a contracting agency. If a thesis/dissertation/cognate essay/research project is to be completed while employed through an external contract or contribution agreement, students must be informed, in writing, of the terms of the contract, including stipulations concerning confidentiality, intellectual property ownership and publications. It is in the interest of students, faculty and the University to ensure that students' publication rights for work completed as a program requirement are protected by the terms of a contract or contribution agreement.
  3. Where the work submitted is part of a team project or a program of research, ownership may be attributed to more than one individual (student, staff, faculty) according to a written agreement signed by all parties who contributed to the work, regardless of the duration of the project or program.
  4. For rights to authorship on papers, books or reports prepared by faculty, there must be a significant intellectual and creative contribution to the work and there must be a sharing of responsibility and accountability for the content of the work by students.
  5. Before a work is submitted for publication, a student co-author must have the right to review and approve the draft manuscript, including the order of authorship.
  6. For a subsequent work based primarily on the student's own dissertation/thesis/research paper/cognate essay/case/musical composition, the student should have the right of first refusal to senior authorship, regardless of whether the final copy of the work is prepared by the student or the professor. Second authorship for a professor is not required, nor should it be expected, if the professor mainly provides encouragement, physical facilities, financial support, critiques, or editorial contributions. In these cases, a footnote acknowledging assistance or a contribution may be sufficient.
  7. Where the research of a student and a professor results in an invention which may be patentable, a memorandum of agreement should be written and signed, with the assistance of the Office of Research and/or lawyers for all parties. In this agreement, the rights of the student, the professor and the University should be identified.

Dispute Resolution

Any dispute with respect to the ownership or use of intellectual property created while a student should be dealt with promptly, in accordance with the following procedures.

  1. First, attempt to resolve the matter by discussions with all parties involved in the creation of the work -- e.g., faculty member(s), other students, former students, staff, etc. who previously contributed to the work.
  2. If the above procedure does not resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the student or alumnus, submit concerns, in writing, with evidence, to the dean of Graduate Studies, who will strive to serve as an informal mediator to resolve the dispute.
  3. The dean, if unable to resolve the matter, will establish an ad hoc committee of enquiry (comprised of 2 senior faculty, one to serve as chair, and 1 graduate student, all from outside the academic sub-unit(s) or department(s) involved), to review the evidence and recommend to the dean, how the matter can be resolved, including a recommendation that the university take disciplinary action against a faculty member or against a student for a malicious or fraudulent complaint.
  4. The recommendation(s) of the committee will be forwarded by the dean to the vice-president: academic for action.
  5. Any disciplinary action taken against a full-time faculty member shall be subject to the provisions of the collective agreement between Wilfrid Laurier University and the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association.