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Ownership of Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) includes inventions and other creative works and/or materials that may be protected under the patent, trademark and/or copyright laws.

UConn owns all inventions made by its employees while working under a grant or contract to UConn, or while using UConn resources.

U.S. patent law specifies that all inventions are owned by the inventor(s) unless the inventor(s) has transferred ownership or title to another entity. This applies to UConn. Under Connecticut law (C.G.S., Sec. 10a-110b), UConn has the right to own title to any invention conceived by university employees (including but not limited to full-time and part-time faculty, post-doctoral fellows, student employees, research assistants, visiting scientists and emeritus professors) in the performance of customary or assigned duties or which emerges from any research or other program of the university, or which is conceived or developed wholly, or partly, with the use of university funds, facilities, equipment or materials.

That is, by virtue of employment, employees of UConn are required to assign their right, title and interest in inventions to the university. Click here for a flowchart.

Yes. A student can even be the sole contributor or inventor. The policy for ownership of an invention developed with or by a student is the same as for any other member of UConn in circumstances where a student is participating in sponsored research at the university and the research contract addresses ownership. Procedurally, a student who believes he or she should have clear title to an invention, which is developed at the university, should contact TCS. Upon disclosure of the invention and examination of the details surrounding its development, the university may execute a waiver of rights regarding the invention to the student, or ask the student to assign his or her rights to UConn.
No. Submitting an Invention Disclosure Form does not directly result in any form of protection. TCS assesses a technology for commercial applicability and then makes a decision about filing for patent protection, or in some cases for copyright protection.
There are some gray areas to this question, but public disclosure includes journal publications, website publications, and presentations at conferences, posters, dissertations, master theses or abstract publications. More generally, it is when the intellectual property is made publicly available and accessible to those skilled in the art to which the invention relates. If you have any questions about this please contact TCS.
Prior art refers to anything regarding the potential invention that has come before. Remember, a patent has to be novel and non-obvious. Journal publications (including your own), foreign patents, U.S. patents, and patent applications are all areas that can contain prior art. Since the inventor knows better than most what the invention entails, he or she should be familiar with much of the prior art regarding the invention space. Searches of the Internet, journal articles and patents are helpful examples of places to perform prior art searches. Researchers can search the patent office at: (www.uspto.gov).