5.17 Intellectual Property

adopted: Sep-2011
last revised: Sep-2011

It is the intent of Richland Community College (RCC) to foster an environment in which innovative and creative activity is encouraged for the practical benefit to the public, while maintaining and protecting the intellectual property interests of the creator, the College, and the District. For purposes of this policy, the creator may be an author, an inventor, or a team responsible for making contributions toward the creation of intellectual property and may include faculty, staff, students, and/or community members.

The College recognizes the use of copyrights, trademarks, and patents as typical methods of intellectual property protection. Trade secrets can also be protected using nondisclosure or confidential disclosure agreements.

The College recognizes traditional scholarly works as exempted copyrightable works. These may include class notes; books and other articles; courseware; musical, dramatic, or artistic works. Ownership of exempted copyrightable works resides with the creator.

Ownership of intellectual property resides with the creator, except when any of the following exception conditions are met:

  • Under or subject to agreement between RCC and a third party
  • Significant directed financial support from RCC for a specific project
  • Commissioned by RCC
  • Significant RCC nonfinancial resources are required to develop the work
  • Use of RCC name, logos, or insignias for commercial use
  • Subject to contractual obligations by a third party

Absent a negotiation and prior agreement, all rights in copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design, and trade secrets shall reside with the creator. Should any of the exception conditions exist, absent prior agreement, the intellectual property resides with the College.

Unless agreed upon by both parties, right of use of intellectual property resides with the owner. Ownership cannot be wrested by any third party without prior agreement by the owner. In addition, in instances where applicable exception conditions are not clear, it is the responsibility of the creator to disclose and clarify ownership to the applicable Richland Vice President at the earliest possible point to avoid possible outside intellectual property claims.

In addition, the College reserves the right at any time to transfer or abandon its intellectual property rights under this policy. Any such transfer or abandonment must be in writing and signed by the President. The College also reserves the right at any time to cease its financial support for developing, protecting, or commercializing any of its intellectual property.