It is the University's desire to encourage and reward innovative research work within the University which leads to the creation of intellectual property (IP).
To encourage such research within the graduate research student community (i.e. thesis Masters' and PhD students), and following extensive consultation with these students, the University adopted a Policy for Intellectual Property Rights of Graduate Research Students (http://www.otago.ac.nz/administration/policies/otago003228.html) with the purpose of:
(a) acknowledging the partnership between student and University in the creation of IP during, and directly related to, the course of the student's studies;
(b) protecting the respective interests, including legal rights, of both parties; and
(c) providing a mechanism for the appropriate sharing, in a mutually beneficial manner, of the financial benefits obtained from the commercial exploitation of the resultant IP.
The intent of the Policy is not for the University to automatically assume that it owns all the IP created by its graduate research students or to require students to protect and share in the financial benefits of IP when they do not wish to do so. The intent of the Policy is to allow students to choose whether they wish to protect the IP arising from their research.
The essential objective of the Policy is to protect the interests of students and the University when the student wishes to commercially exploit the IP by the development of an appropriate IP Agreement, including University and student ownership of the IP, which is tailored to the particular circumstances of the IP that the student has created or anticipates creating. The University's view is that, as such IP is produced with the assistance of the University through its staff and other resources; the University has a part-ownership of the IP. If it wishes to exercise a claim on ownership of the IP, the University will enter into an agreement with the respective student, in accordance with the Policy, to share the financial benefits that may arise. Should the University waive ownership, the student is free to make his or her own arrangements regarding the IP.
Students who are also staff and whose staff roles do not include a research component will be considered as students and this Policy will apply provided that the IP which has been created has arisen as part of their graduate research studies. The Staff Intellectual Property Rights Policy will apply to those students who are also members of the academic staff and whose staff roles include a bona fide research component.
When using the IP created by a graduate research student, the supervisor concerned, has an obligation to declare both the supervisor's and the student's respective roles in creating the IP. A supervisor may not commercially exploit the IP created with a student without the express written agreement of both the student and the University.
Please note that special IP arrangements are normally required when third parties are involved with the research or its funding.
Queries about IP should be directed to the Research and Enterprise Office in the Research Division.