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The recent news from the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors proved two facts: Change to a university policy is slow and Dr. Tim Sands (Virginia Tech’s President) is persistent.


Virginia Tech President:           Dr. Timothy Sands

Recognizing the need to enable students to generate ideas and launch start-up businesses, Dr. Sands called for change in the onerous policies reportedly causing students to walk away from the opportunity to commercialize an idea to avoid the labyrinth of ownership and control issues resulting from the old policy.

On June 1, 2015, the Board of Visitors adopted a resolution to revise Policy 13000 adding the following language:

“Ownership of IP developed by students: The University will not generally claim ownership of IP created by students. However, in the matter of course generated IP, including courses for research or independent credit, the student(s) shall have ownership only if they made use of resources that are a) made available by the College /Department administering the University course to all students enrolled in the course; and b) provided to all students enrolled in the course for academic credit when there are no pre-existing obligations for the University in connection with such course generated intellectual property, and/or the student(s) are not paid by the University in the scope of such course.

A student may choose to assign the ownership right in IP to the University and/or VTIP if all the parties agree to such a transfer.

If students develop IP in their capacity as employees, such IP shall be governed as set forth above and ownership is automatically vested in the University, including novel results of research in which the originator(s) do hereby assign ownership, right, title, and interest in any IP, discovery, or invention to the University.” 

This is a great state to be in. To go any further, a change in state law will likely be required.


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