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Butler University Bulletin

Student Ownership of Intellectual Property

For students who help create a copyrightable work or patentable invention with one or more University employees (faculty and/or staff ), the following guidelines from the University’s Intellectual Property Manual may help determine when the University has certain rights in a work or invention the student has been involved in producing while at Butler. If the work or invention was created or conceived with the “substantial use” of University resources, then the work or invention may be subject to University ownership and control, with the student and/or faculty member having certain rights as described in the University Intellectual Property Policy.

For example, rights in a patentable invention arising from a student’s participation in a faculty research project that makes “substantial use” of University resources will be owned by the University, with any income from the patents being shared between the University, faculty, and student as set forth in the University Intellectual Property Policy. The policy thereby establishes the means and incentive for commercialization of the invention. The rights vest with the University. However, the ownership of copyrightable works that are not produced at the direction of the University, even those created with “substantial use” of University resources, will generally continue to be owned by the creators of the work with some rights being reserved for the University.

While the above is a general overview with some examples, do not hesitate to ask a faculty member for guidance, or refer to the Butler University Intellectual Property Manual, at, for specific guidelines. Additionally, the Office of Sponsored Programs is a valuable resource to help with questions related to these matters, and it can help ensure that any intellectual property is properly protected and given the best opportunity to be commercialized.