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Copyright & Intellectual Property

Purpose of the Policy

Queens University of Charlotte encourages the production of creative and scholarly works known broadly as intellectual property. These works may create rights and interests on behalf of the creator, Queens University of Charlotte, and others. The purpose of this policy is to support research and scholarship and to help administer intellectual property matters and the rights and responsibilities of all involved.

Application of the Policy

This policy applies to works created by all classifications of faculty, staff, and students of the university and to non-employees such as consultants and independent contractors who create works on behalf of the university unless a written agreement exists to the contrary.

Queens does not assert a property interest in materials that result from the creator’s pursuit of traditional teaching, research, creative and scholarly activities. However, in those cases where substantial institutional resources are provided to support the faculty project or teaching, Queens may assert ownership or other property interests; these situations should be addressed through specific agreements with the producers of the works. Queens desires its employees to have ownership in their work to the greatest extent possible without detriment to the university.


  1. Intellectual property includes, but is not limited to, the following, whether or not patentable or registrable under statute:
    • Copyrightable material produced from creative and scholarly activity, such as texts (manuscripts, manuals, books, articles); videos and motion pictures; music (sound recordings, lyrics, scores); images (print, photographs, electronic); art (painting, sculpture, theatrical work, literary work); and computer or electronic software (programs, databases, web pages, courseware); and
    • Patentable works such as processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter, devices, formulas, inventions, designs, and software are excluded from copyright; and
    • Trademarked materials, such as words, names, symbols or logos, domain names, trade dress, and slogans or any combination of words, including those adopted by the university to identify itself and to distinguish itself and its sponsorship from others; and
    • Trade secrets.
  2. Faculty refers to full-time and part-time faculty, including adjunct faculty. Staff refers to classified employees, administrative staff, and students who are hired for or assigned specific creative work by the university. Students may be staff members for some purposes and not for others. If they are paid as student assistants, for example, or given grants to do specific research, they are staff. Students receiving general scholarship or stipend funds would not normally be considered staff.
  3. Assigned Duty refers to a task or project undertaken as a result of a specific request or direction or as part of expected job responsibilities. Such a task would in most cases include specific instructions, approval of work product, and general oversight. A faculty member’s general obligation to teach a class, research a topic, or produce scholarly writing on a subject would not fall into this category. Work produced as an assigned duty of a staff member is considered work for hire and will be owned by the university. If copyrightable work-for-hire materials are marketed, a staff member will not ordinarily share in the royalties from sales of the work. Faculty may be engaged in work for hire by special agreement.
  4. Teaching materials, including online and distance learning materials, created by faculty without substantial use of university resources or special agreement remain the property of the faculty member. If the development of the course materials has made substantial use of university resources and absent a provision in the special agreement, the university and the faculty member will co-own the property rights and both will retain a non-exclusive license to use these materials in educational settings, even if the faculty member leaves the university. Should there be any commercial potential for the materials developed with substantial use of university resources, the faculty member and university shall share in any revenues.
  5. Intellectual Property Committee refers to the committee composed of two faculty representatives appointed by the Faculty Council and one representative appointed by the Office of Academic Affairs or the Office of the President, charged with administering this policy and resolving disputes over the ownership of intellectual property.

Ownership & Use

In keeping with the view that one of the university’s primary benefits to society is the production of original works by its faculty, staff, and students, and in order to best encourage such activity, it is the general policy of Queens that intellectual property shall be the property of the author or creator. Except as set forth below, the creator of intellectual property shall retain his/her rights, and the university shall not assert ownership rights.

The university may assert ownership rights to intellectual property under the following circumstances:

  • Development was funded as part of an externally sponsored research program under an agreement that allocates rights to the university.
  • A faculty member was assigned, directed, or specifically funded by the university to develop the material, and the university has negotiated an agreement with the creator providing funds, release time, or other agreed-upon consideration.
  • Material was developed by staff members in the course of employment duties and constitutes work for hire under U.S. law.
  • Development required substantial use of university resources (e.g., facilities, equipment, funding) or more than ordinary use of university resources for that discipline. “Substantial resources” require the use of resources of a degree or nature not routinely made available to all faculty or faculty in that discipline.
  • The intellectual property created is more integral to, and reflects more directly on, the identity of Queens University of Charlotte than on the identity of the individual who created it. Examples of this kind of material are alumni bulletins, newsletters, fundraising materials, and any material that prominently uses the trademarks or logos of the university. Queens owns or has a proprietary interest in any trademark, service mark, design, or logo, registered or unregistered, that represents or identifies Queens, its programs, or services. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. All authorized use inures solely to the benefit of Queens University of Charlotte.

Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, visiting faculty and researchers, and employees and visitors covered by sponsored program agreements or other contractual agreements. This policy sets forth the rights and obligations of Queens with respect to all intellectual property, including intellectual property created prior to the effectiveness of this policy.

The overriding principle underlying this Intellectual Property Policy is to encourage creativity and inventiveness, so Queens reserves the right to allow some flexibility in applying this policy on a case-by-case basis. Ownership and use of materials developed pursuant to a special agreement between the university and the creator will be governed by the provisions of that agreement.

Administration of the Policy

The administration of this policy shall reside with the Intellectual Property Committee.

Dispute Resolution

Questions about application of this policy may be referred to the Intellectual Property Committee. Should any disputes arise as to the ownership of intellectual property, the parties shall in entitled to appear before the Intellectual Property Committee and to present evidence with respect to the disputed ownership. The committee’s written determination shall contain the basis for its decision and recommendation. The university president, on his/her own motion or at the request of any interested party, may review the committee’s determination. The president may affirm, modify, or reject any determination of the committee. The decision of the president is final.

Adopted: 2009-2010