Intellectual Property - Wayne Community College | Goldsboro, NC

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Policy (adopted 01-10-00; revised 8-25-14, 5-27-15)


The College acknowledges the need to protect ownership rights in intellectual property as illustrated by, but not limited to, literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual and creative works as well as inventions, trade secrets, computer software which are copyrightable or patentable.

Inventions, discoveries, copyrightable and other creative works that have the potential to be brought into practical use may result from the activities of Wayne Community College employees or students in the course of their duties or through the use, by any person, of Wayne Community College resources such as facilities, equipment, or funds.

The primary purpose of this intellectual property policy is to provide the necessary protections and incentives to encourage both the discovery and development of new knowledge and its transfer for the public benefit; a secondary purpose is to guide the generation of revenue for Wayne Community College and the Creators.


The following statement of policy and procedure is made for the purpose of defining ownership of such rights that are created by College employees and students.


“College”, as used in this policy, means Wayne Community College.

“Employee”, as used in this policy, means any full-time or part-time, contractual or non-contractual, employee as defined in the College Procedures Manual.

“Intellectual property” as used herein is broadly defined to include inventions, discoveries, know-how, show-how, processes, unique materials, copyrightable works, original data and other creative or artistic works. Intellectual property includes that which is protectable by statute or legislation, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, service marks, trade secrets, mask works, and plant variety protection certificates. It also includes the physical embodiments of intellectual effort, for example, models, machines, devices, designs, apparatus, instrumentation, circuits, computer programs, and visualizations, biological materials, chemicals, other compositions of matter, plants, and records of research.

“Traditional academic copyrightable works” are a subset of copyrightable works created independently and at the creator’s initiative for traditional academic purposes. Examples include class notes, books, theses and dissertations, educational software (also known as course-ware or lesson-ware), articles, non-fiction, fiction, poems, musical works, dramatic works including any accompanying music, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, or other works of artistic imagination that are not created as an institutional initiative.

“Creator” refers to an individual or group of individuals who make, conceive, reduce to practice, author, or otherwise make a substantive contribution to the creation of intellectual property. For purposes of this policy, Creator may refer to College employees, staff, students, contractors, and other agents. “Creator” includes the definition of “inventor” used in U.S. patent law and the definition of “author” used in the U.S. Copyright Act.

“College Resources” includes such support as office space, library facilities, ordinary access to computers and networks, or salary. In general, it does not include use of students or employees as support staff to develop the work, or substantial use of specialized or unique facilities and equipment, or other special subventions provided by the College unless approved as exceptions.

“Net Revenues” are gross receipts of anything of value including, but not limited to, cash payments, rents, royalties, dividends, earnings, gains and sales proceeds, less all original and ongoing costs and losses paid or incurred by the college and/or the employee, in connection with the creation, marketing, and/or copyrighting or patenting of the intellectual property, including but not limited to, direct costs of obtaining and securing copyrights or patents, indirect costs as determined by the college, and all attorney’s fees.

General Provisions

DISCLOSURE – All College employees and students shall disclose potentially copyrightable or patentable work to the College President or designee. In the case of copyrightable work, disclosure should be prior to beginning the work, but not later than completion of the work. An employee or student shall disclose patentable creations or ideas when discovery appears eminent or promptly after discovery. Inadvertent discoveries should be reported as quickly as reasonable under the circumstances.

PROTECTION – The President or designee will take steps to protect the interests of the College in the, sale, lease, or licensing to others of College Intellectual Property. The President or designee will determine the appropriate level of protection for the College to maintain on a case-by-case basis for both the maintenance of and the transfer of Intellectual Property rights.

EXCEPTIONS – Any situations or mitigating circumstances not specifically addressed by this policy will be reviewed on an individual basis by the College President with outcomes maintained in appropriate College files. Exceptions will be customary for Traditional Academic Copyrightable Works conducted for furthering Creator’s level of education.

INCIDENTAL USE OF COLLEGE RESOURCES – The College does not claim an ownership interest or license to use any Intellectual Property which was developed with only incidental use of college resources except as otherwise provided by separate written agreement.

SPONSOR SUPPORTED EFFORTS – The College reserves the sole right to make agreements with sponsoring organizations regarding the ownership and disposition of rights to Intellectual Property derived from sponsored efforts. Funds and facilities administered and controlled by the College, which are provided for by a third-party entity, public or private, shall be considered, under this policy, to be College Resources.

RESERVED RIGHT TO LIQUIDATE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY INTERESTS – The College expressly reserves the right to liquidate, sell, transfer, lease, donate, or otherwise dispose of any or all of its interest in any or all pieces of Intellectual Property in which the College retains an interest.

STUDENT WORKPRODUCT EXCEPTION – Intellectual Property created as a direct result of assigned coursework due to Creator’s enrollment in the College will be treated as independent works conducted with college resources.

Ownership Rights

INDEPENDENT WORKS – A Creator owns all rights to Intellectual Property created through the Creator’s own initiative while not in the course and scope of his or her employment or enrollment with the College and is created using, at most insignificant use of College Resources.

COLLEGE SUPPORTED WORKS – Unless otherwise provided in this policy or by prior agreement, the College owns all rights to Intellectual Property developed by Creator in the course of the Creator’s relationship with the College or through the use of other College Resources, including, but not limited to, released time, grant money, sabbatical leave, or other material or financial assistance by the College.

INDEPENDENT WORKS CONDUCTED WITH COLLEGE RESOURCES – Unless otherwise provided in this policy, the college claims a non-exclusive, irrevocable, license to use Intellectual Property which is developed outside Creator’s scope of employment or Creator’s assigned coursework at the College but developed with more than insignificant use of College Resources.

CONSULTING WORK BY COLLEGE EMPLOYEES – The College does not claim an ownership interest or license to Creator’s Intellectual Property derived from work consulting with outside business, industry, governmental, or academic entities so long as said Intellectual Property is derived with, at most, the incidental use of College Resources.

PREVIOUSLY CREATED INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY – The College recognizes that from time to time an employee will bring with them previously created Intellectual Property to be used in the scope of their employment with the College. The College does not claim any ownership right to any previously created Intellectual Property that Creator brings with them to their employment. The College does claim a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free, license to any modified versions of said Intellectual Property resulting from the Creator’s scope of employment with the College.

DIVISION OF EQUITIES – Ownership percentage disputes amongst creators of Intellectual Property of which the College has an interest will be settled by the President of the College or her delegate.

Intellectual Property Usage Rights

COMMERCIALIZATION AT THE DISCRETION OF THE COLLEGE – The College shall make determinations to exploit the commercial value of any Intellectual Property which the College claims an interest on a case-by-case basis.

RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL – When the College plans to use, update, or make derivative works from Intellectual Property over which it claims an interest, the Creator of the Intellectual Property will be given a right of first refusal to participate in the use or creation of new versions of the Intellectual Property, so long as the Creator is still either enrolled or under the employ of the College. If the Creator declines, or is unable to perform to the satisfaction of the College, the College reserves the right to offer the opportunity to another qualified legal entity.

ROYALTIES – Except as per a prior written agreement, no royalty will be paid on Intellectual Property wholly owned by the College.

INDEPENDENT WORKS CONDUCTED WITH COLLEGE RESOURCES – When Intellectual Property is created outside the Creator’s scope of employment or enrollment, but with the use of College Resources, the College retains a non-exclusive, irrevocable, license. If the College decides to pursue commercialization of this Intellectual Property, the Creator shall be awarded no more than 10% of net revenues until the college has recovered all direct and indirect costs associated with said commercialization efforts. After all costs are covered, the Creator will be awarded no more than 20% of net revenues. In any year where costs exceed revenues for a particular Intellectual Property interest, the College will be under no obligation to remit any payment until revenues exceed payable costs. The College President, or a delegate, will have final say in determining appropriate payments by the College to the Creator.

SPONSORED RESEARCH – In the case of sponsor supported intellectual property efforts, the usage rights will conform to the prior written agreement negotiated between the College and the sponsor.

Grievance Procedure

Upon the emergence of issues or disputes relating to intellectual property, the President will appoint an ad hoc Intellectual Property Committee, composed of equal numbers of faculty and staff, to make recommendations to the President concerning the disposition of the issue.   In cases where a student is involved, a member of the Student Government Association will also be appointed to the committee.   The President will make the final decision on the issue.

Publication to College

This policy and dispute resolution is disseminated to students through the General Catalog and Student Handbook and the Basic Skills Handbook and Planner (print and online versions) and to faculty and staff on the College’s internal website (College Procedures Manual 02-0310 Intellectual Property) and for faculty in both the Curriculum Instructor Handbook and the Continuing Education Instructor Handbook.


Other Information related to Consumer Information