The Office of Legal Affairs provides support and assistance to the University's colleges, departments and units when they are faced with issues relating to the creation, acquisition, protection and commercialization of intellectual property. Intellectual property describes a wide variety of property created by musicians, authors, artists, and inventors. The law of intellectual property typically encompasses the areas of copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, and know-how. It is designed to encourage the development of art, science, and information by granting certain property rights to all artists, which include inventors in both the arts and the sciences. These rights allow artists and inventors to protect themselves from infringement, unauthorized use, and misuse of their inventions and creations by others.
The Technology Commercialization Office has the primary responsibility to provide assistance to the University community in the identification, protection and commercialization of intellectual property.
- Michael D. Steffensmeier Senior Associate General Counsel, Director of IP Strategy
The most frequently asked questions regarding intellectual property:
Who owns the intellectual property ("IP") developed as a result of research at the University?
Ownership of IP created through research at the University is determined by state law, federal law, University policy, and by contract. Ohio Revised Code § 3345.14 provides in part that all rights to and interests in discoveries, inventions, or patents which result from research or investigation conducted in any experiment station, bureau, laboratory, research facility, or other facility of any state college or university, or by employees of any state college or university acting within the scope of their employment or with funding, equipment, or infrastructure provided by or through any state college or university, shall be the sole property of that college or university. The federal Bayh-Dole Act allows universities to be the owners of intellectual property created through federally funded research activities (e.g., NIH, NSF, NCI).
The University's Policy on Patents and Copyrights was established by University Rule 3335-13-06 and governs the handling of all "products of University research." These include inventions that result from sponsored research or investigation conducted using University resources or facilities, and inventions by University faculty and staff within the scope of their employment.
The Policy, which is consistent with Ohio law, establishes ownership of inventions that are products of University research with the University. Royalties from the licensing of such inventions are distributed to the inventor(s) according to a formula set forth in the Policy. In the case of joint inventors, the inventors' share is divided equally unless the inventors agree in writing to a different allocation.
The Policy can be found at the Technology Commercialization Office website at https://tco.osu.edu/tools-resources/resources/.
Who owns Scholarly and Artistic Works Created by Faculty Members?
As a general rule, the University's policy establishes that all rights in copyright to pedagogical, scholarly, or artistic works, regardless of their form of expression, remain with the creator, except in specified cases where law or University policy require otherwise.
I am a Faculty Member; Do I call Legal Affairs to Review A Publishing Contract?
The Office of Legal Affairs does not represent University community members in their personal legal matters. If, under applicable University policies, the University does not have an ownership interest in a scholarly work that you want to publish, then you need to arrange to handle the review of the publishing agreement yourself with your own personal lawyer.