Sac State University Policy Manual

Copyright and Patent, Policy on

Policy Administrator: Vice President for Academic Affairs
Effective Date:
Index Cross-References:
Policy File Number: UMC02750.htm



California State University, Sacramento, is dedicated to teaching, research, and the sharing of its knowledge with the public. Members of the University community recognize that two of their major objectives are the production of new knowledge and the dissemination of both old and new knowledge. Inherent in these objectives is the need to encourage the development of new and useful devices and processes and the publication of scholarly works. Such activities: (1) contribute to the professional development of the individual, (2) provide additional educational opportunities for students, (3) promote the general welfare of the public at large, and (4) enhance the reputation of the University.

Patentable inventions and materials and copyrightable works often come about because of activities of University faculties and other employees who have been aided through the use of facilities of the University. It becomes significant, therefore, to ensure the utilization of such inventions for the public good and to expedite their development and marketing. The rights and privileges of, as well as incentive to, the inventor must be preserved so that his or her abilities and those of others in the University are further encouraged and stimulated.

The foregoing considered, the following policy with respect to patents, inventions, and copyrights resulting from the work of its faculty's, staff, and students is established.


The term "patentable materials" refers to items which reasonably appear to qualify for protection under the patent laws* of the United States or other protective statutes whether or not patentable there under.

Copyrightable materials include: (1) books, journal articles, texts, glossaries, bibliographies, study guides, laboratory manuals, syllabi, tests and proposals; (2) lectures, musical or dramatic compositions, unpublished scripts (3) films, filmstrips, charts, transparencies, and other visual aids; (4) video and audio tapes, cassettes; (5) live video or audio broadcasts; (6) programmed instructional materials; (7) computer programs and their documentation; and (8) other materials or works which qualify for protection under the copyright laws of the United States or other protective statutes whether or not copyrightable there under.


1. Sponsor-Supported Efforts

The grant or contract between the sponsor and the University, under which patentable or copyrightable materials are produced may contain specific provisions with respect to disposition of rights to these materials. The sponsor (1) may specify that the materials be *__________  "Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefore subject to the conditions and requirements of this title." United States Code Annotated, Title 35, Section 101, as amended.

placed in the public domain, (2) may claim reproduction, license-free use, or other rights, or (3) may assign all rights to the University. In those cases where all rights are vested in the University or in cases where royalty income is shared between the
sponsor and the University, the inventor or author may appropriately share in the royalty income. The nature and extent of such participation in royalty income is subject to sponsor and University regulations.

2. University-Assigned Efforts

Ownership of patentable and copyrightable materials developed as a result of assigned University effort shall reside with the University; however, sharing of royalty income shall be negotiated as an incentive to encourage further development of such materials.

3. University-Assisted Individual Effort

Joint rights of ownership**, and/or sharing of royalty income, shall be ensured where the University provides any support of an individual's effort resulting in patentable or copyrightable material by the contribution of faculty or staff, facilities, or University resources. Should the University decide not to proceed with arrangements for patent or copyright within a reasonable period of time (to be determined in advance), the individual will be free to pursue such arrangements at his/her own expense and ownership so generated will reside solely with the individual.

4. Individual Effort

Ownership of patentable or copyrightable material generated on personal time and solely as a result of individual initiative and not as a University assignment and/or employment responsibilities nor involving the significant use of University facilities
or resources shall reside with the inventor or author.  Normal and routine use of University personnel, resources, or facilities consistent with one's assigned
duties and responsibilities does not constitute such "significant use." A faculty member's general obligation to produce scholarly and creative works does
not constitute a specific assignment.


The President shall appoint a University copyright and patent committee consisting of seven members, one of whom shall be designated by the President to serve as chair. Membership shall consist of the University Librarian, Director of

Ordinarily in cases of joint ownership, the copyright or patent will be in the name of the Trustees and terms of such joint ownership shall be in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding.

Computing, Communications and Media Services, Director of Research and Sponsored Projects, a representative of the President and three faculty recommended by the Academic Senate.  Selected membership shall, insofar as possible, consist of
individuals who have a record of productivity of copyrightable or patentable materials and should collectively represent a diversity of types of such materials (i.e. print, film, software, etc.).

Faculty, staff and students shall report promptly to the committee, through the appropriate channel, all inventions patentable and copyrightable material except as subsequently provided for in committee guidelines. The Copyright and Patent
Committee shall recommend to the President or designee on the rights and equities in patentable or copyrightable materials.  Assignment of copyright or patent division of income from royalties and other use should be agreed upon in advance by faculty, staff, or students and appropriate administrators in accordance with this policy. In the event of a disagreement as to ownership and use, the Committee shall first act as mediator.
If further appeal becomes necessary, the Committee shall make its recommendation to the President or designee.

The Committee shall issue additional guidelines or illustrative materials to aid in the interpretation and implementation of this policy and procedures.

In the implementation of its procedures the committee may elect, with the approval of the President or designee, any of the following courses with regard to patents:

1. To develop and manage its patent rights program through an independent patent assistance organization so as to secure competent evaluation of inventions or
discoveries, expeditious filing of applications for patents and aggressive licensing and administration of patents; or

2. To develop and manage its patent rights program through an affiliated auxiliary corporation or other nonprofit organizations established for this purpose; or

3. To develop and manage independently its own patent rights program; or, in the event that the University chooses none of the above;

4. To release the invention to which the University has title or an interest to the inventor for management and development as a private venture after the execution of an agreement providing for the division of royalty income produced.


When the University or one of its auxiliary organizations holds a copyright, the following shall govern:

1. The name shall appear as follows: Copyright (year) The Trustees of the California State University. All rights reserved.

2. In the event of assignment of copyright to an auxiliary, the name shall appear as follows: Copyright (year) Foundation; California State University, Sacramento. All rights reserved.

3. No other institution, school, department, center or institute shall be named in the copyright notice.

Members of the University community are urged to confer with the University Committee on Patent and Copyright whenever there is a question as to the need to involve the University in any authorship or publication and whenever there is reason to believe
that the foregoing policy is not being honored.

The University Committee on Patent and Copyright is responsible to the Vice President for Academic