The general principle is that students are not employees of the University and in the absence of a contract or agreement to the contrary, you own the intellectual property (IP) generated by your research. However, there are two classes of IP where the general principle does not apply and where the University claims ownership of such IP from the outset through an assignment of the relevant IP.
The revised University Intellectual Property Policy ("IP Policy") was approved by the University Council in July 2012.
Pursuant to the IP Policy, the effect of such assignment is that you will be treated as a member of staff for the purpose of sharing in any benefits arising from commercialisation of the relevant IP. It also means that you are able to utilise the expertise available within the University to protect and service your interests, as provided by Research & Business Partnerships ("RBP"). RBP helps researchers at the University by providing expert legal advice on all IP issues, which the Graduate Centre then administers in accordance with RBP's directions.
It also means that you are able to utilise the expertise available within the University to protect and service your interests, as provided by Research Contracts and Partnerships (RCP) (formerly Adelaide Research and Innovation). RCP helps researchers at the University by providing expert legal advice on all IP issues, which the Adelaide Graduate Centre then administers in accordance with their directions.
These two classes of University owned IP are where the IP arises from a project that:
- builds on pre-existing University IP ("Special Case A"),
- is being carried out for or in conjunction with an external third party (e.g. a Cooperative Research Centre, industry partner, company or other institution) whether under a separate formal agreement or not ("Special Case B").
It is important to note that if you do not agree to assign such IP to the University, you will be unable to work on a Special Case A project or a Special Case B project and you will therefore need to choose another project that does not build on pre-existing University IP nor involve an external third party.
Your supervisors are responsible for assessing up front (through the core component of the structured program (CCSP)) if your project falls into 'Special Case A' and/or 'Special Case B'. Based on the answers provided in the IP section of the CCSP, your Principal Supervisor may be required to provide further particulars for assessment by RCP. The 'IP Guidelines' are available to assist in the completion of your CCSP form.
The information provided will be reviewed by RCP. For all instances of Special Case B, and in certain other cases, the Adelaide Graduate Centre will send relevant students a confirmatory IP Deed Poll which must be signed as evidence of compliance by the University of its obligations under the third party agreement (including ownership of the IP by the University). Certain third-party partners such as CSIRO/SA Pathology/MedVet/CRCs have their own student agreements which may contain other provisions relating to IP. As the student’s IP will be owned by the University in instances of Special Case A and/or Special Case B (or where it has been assigned to the University under a Student IP Deed Poll or through another mechanism), the University will negotiate and sign a further agreement with the third party partner to clarify the agreed arrangements relating to the IP, and there is no further action required by the affected student.
Unless otherwise approved by RCP, if you are working on a Special Case A and/or Special Case B project, a two year IP embargo will be placed on both the hard copy and electronic versions of your thesis from the date of original submission. At the end of the two year period, the embargo will expire and be automatically lifted; meaning that access to your thesis will no longer be restricted.
Under exceptional circumstances, authorisation to extend the period of the embargo may be provided by the University.
All applications to extend the period of the embargo will be considered by the Dean of Graduate Studies on a case-by-case basis and must be received by the Adelaide Graduate Centre at least two months before the embargo is due to expire. If an application for extension is not lodged two months before the embargo expiry date, the embargo will be lifted and the thesis copies placed in the public domain.
IP matters are complex and may take time to resolve. To ensure that unnecessary delays are avoided, you are encouraged to discuss IP with your supervisor(s)/postgraduate coordinator at an early stage of candidature and, if necessary, to obtain independent legal advice.
Further information regarding Intellectual Property, including the University's policy and the relevant forms.