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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
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When a college graduate student makes a discovery in his professors

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When a college graduate student makes a discovery in his professor's lab that results in a patent how does the remuneration work visa vie the school, the lab and the student?

Kirk Adams : Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm an Intellectual Property litigation attorney. Thanks for using JA! I'll be glad to assist you today.
Kirk Adams : Generally, the division is between teh college and the student; the professor is an employee of the college, so anything he discovered would usually belong to the school since the professor is paid/compensated by the school.
Kirk Adams : The governing principle on this issue is that the college has a claim to ownership of intellectual property to the extent that the work is produced with substantial college resources, or with substantial resources dedicated to the creator's use in the production of the work.
Kirk Adams : Thus, in other words, unless the invention could have been created without the use and benefit of the college's resources - professors, labs, computer software, etc. - the college would have an equitable claim to the patent.
Kirk Adams : If the student and college could not agree on an equitable split, then a court would have to decide the issue.

Thanks. That is a big help. This is regarding my son. As I understand it published results are shared with the professor who is the lead author. I'm surprised to hear that the professor gets none of the monetary reward. How would my son approach the university to negotiate his equitable split?


What would be a typical split in the field of chemistry?

Kirk Adams : The professor likely has a deal with the college in his contract that gives him some amount of compensation for any patentable invention.
Kirk Adams : The best thing your son could do is consult a local IP attorney to make contact with the school and discuss how to handle this. MOST schools have a written protocol or set of policies and procedures on dealing with the division of IP rights.
Kirk Adams : Generally, the split is more favorable for the student/inventor, but there are no set percentages.
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