Student Intellectual Property (IP) Policy

Purdue offers students of all disciplines encouragement and tangible opportunities to learn about entrepreneurship. As a result, Purdue has experienced an increased interest in the ownership of course-generated intellectual property that may have commercial value. The purpose of this memo is to provide clarification of Intellectual Property Policy (I.A.1) regarding ownership of intellectual property that was created by students as part of their course credit ("Course-Generated Intellectual Property").

Several practical scenarios in the generation of intellectual property occur at Purdue. Certain course projects may involve a company sponsor that provides students with practical experience in solving real-world problems. These collaborating companies may want written agreements transferring intellectual property ownership or license rights resulting from such course projects. Alternatively, in select instances, a Purdue student may have independent entrepreneurial aspirations of her/his own and, accordingly, wishes to establish a clear ownership path. There are parts of Policy I.A.1 that have caused difficulty for students attempting to apply the policy in these and similar scenarios.

In order to clarify the application of Policy I.A.1, the Committee on Patent and Copyrights advised, and Purdue President Mitch Daniels approved, the following clarification:

The statement titled "Ownership of University Course-Generated Intellectual Property Created by Students" clarifies that the University claims no ownership rights to course-generated intellectual property created by Purdue students, provided that:

  • Student innovator(s) made use of resources that are both routinely made available by the college/department administering the University course and provided to all students enrolled in the course in an equitable manner.
  • The relevant student(s) are not paid by the University, whether through internal funds or under a grant or contract with a third party.
  • There are no pre-existing obligations for Purdue in connection with such course-generated intellectual property.

Faculty are in the best position to help students understand ownership rights related to outside funding or other support within a specific course. The course syllabus is the ideal place to clarify student rights to ownership for the work performed in a course. If questions arise regarding the University's interest in, or possible ownership claim in, course-generated intellectual property developed by one or more Purdue students, please direct them to the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships.

The full policy can be found in our 2013 statement regarding student intellectual property (PDF).

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