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Copyrights, Patents & Intellectual Property

Information about copyrights, patents and intellectual property in relation to grants and research.


UW System policies and procedures governing copyrights are set forth in General Administrative Policy Paper (GAPP27). Subject to circumstances noted in GAPP27, a copyright that a University employee obtains on his or her original work shall belong to the employee. Further, as provided in GAPP27, when copyrights are the subject of agreements between the University and extramural sponsors, University employees must cooperate in honoring such contractual commitments. Licensing agreements for computer software are contained in General Administrative Policy Paper (GAPP10). Reference should be made to the University's policy statement, “Copyright and Ownership Policy on University Funded Projects," which can be found in the Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook.

Patents/Intellectual Property

The University of Wisconsin does not contract with or otherwise require its employees to produce inventions, and, thus, does not claim proprietary rights in employee inventions, except for the continuing right to use such inventions in its education and research mission. In the absence of contractual provisions obligating the transfer of all or some proprietary rights to the invention to a third party, employees who make inventions have complete ownership and control of any resulting patents. UW System policies and procedures governing patents are contained in General Administrative Policy Paper (GAPP34). To ensure such sponsor rights, employees and others who participate in extramural programs must sign a patent agreement. The Office of Grants and Faculty Development will supply the form and maintain the agreement on file.

The WiSys Technology Foundation, Inc. (WiSys) is the designated intellectual property management organization for all institutions of the UW System other than UW Madison. WiSys, established in June 2000, is a subsidiary of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). WARF was founded in 1925 to patent and license the inventions of researchers at UW Madison. WiSys, a non-profit organization, was established to do the same for the rest of the UW System institutions. It protects discoveries made at the campuses and promotes them through commercialization. For more information about WiSys, see the WiSys Technology Foundation Newsletter.


No agreement shall be entered into with any extramural sponsor that prohibits the right of a University employee to publish the results of the project. The University and its employees have an obligation to ensure that project results are made known to the general public.

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by Reinke, Heidi last modified Jan 20, 2011 04:29 PM