Several years in the making, Emorys revised intellectual
property (IP) policy finally was approved by the Board of Trustees
in June, giving the University a firm base from which to deal with
the increasingly more complicated IP issues that have crept into
multimedia publication and scientific research.
For several years, thorny issues of IP ownership have popped up
not only at Emory but around the country, as researchers in higher
education develop work that either incorporates brand-new technologies
or results in significant economic returns when brought to marketplace,
or both. Under Emorys old IP policy, the University sometimes
was ill-equipped to deal with situations, either because the policy
simply could not accommodate technological advances or because there
was no resolution process if a grievance arose.
The new IP policy continues to support the traditional rights of
researchers and scholars in the field of academic publication. It
also recognizes that significant investment in IP on the part of
University should result in some measure of economic return.
This policy is fairly standard now with many other institutions
policies, said Frank Stout, vice president for Research Administration.
Stout, in cooperation with the Office of the Provost, has been instrumental
in guiding the IP policy through the revision process since he came
to Emory in fall 2000. It was one of the first charges he received
from former Provost Rebecca Chopp, he said, and the work has continued
under the direction of interim Provost Howard Hunter.
Under the new policy, Emory continues to cede full copyright of
scholarly publications to the author. This includes the traditional
media of books and book chapters, journal articles, papers, etc.,
and also new media such as CD-ROMs or other electronic textbooks.
The exceptions come when the University invests a significant amount
of resources into the work; for example, if the Information Technology
Division provides substantial technical support to a professor creating
an electronic textbook, Emory could assert co-ownership rights.
Once the University does assert such rights, there is a sliding
scale of revenue distribution. Gross revenue up to $25,000 goes
entirely to the creator; net revenues from $25,001 to $4 million
are split, with 33 percent going to the creator, 33 percent to the
creators department, 10 percent to the school and 24 percent
to the University. For net revenues over $4 million, the creator
gets 25 percent, the department 33 percent, the school 17 percent
and the University 25 percent.
The numbers are a change from Emorys old policy, when creators
received 40 percent of net revenues across the board. However, Stout
said, the new policy likely will result in the majority of Emory
researchers receiving more money, since very few IP inventions
strike gold to the tune of millions of dollars. Keeping all of the
first $25,000, even with the lower percentages above that figure,
often will translate into more return for researchers than keeping
40 percent of total net revenue.
Emorys peer institutions have similar policies with a range
of differences in revenue distribution percentages and destinations.
Duke, for example, slices the pie into more pieces, with the inventors
lab, the technology transfer office and a teaching fund for postdocs
all getting a share.
The University share of royalties will be used to support
research in accordance with the requirements of the Bayh-Dole Act,
but it will not be restricted to any specific subject area of research
other than as may be required by Bayh-Dole, said Hunter, referring
to the 1980 federal law governing university technology transfer.
If you take a look at most institutions around the United
States, were still probably in the upper third in terms of
giving a significant amount of income back to the faculty member,
The new IP policy also outlines a grievance process for disputes
between researchers and the University; the Provosts Intellectual
Property Committee will be an ad hoc, three-person group drawn from
the advisory council for the vice president of Research Administration.
Hunter said the provost would consult with Faculty Council to select
committee members with the appropriate expertise for a given case.
The IP policy was developed over several years and in collaboration
with faculty, including groups such as Faculty Council. The administration
held several open meetings with faculty to discuss the policys
many drafts, and the most current draft was kept posted for review
on the provosts office website. The final policy also is available
for review at www.emory.edu/PROVOST/policy_bylaws/IP_policy.htm.