University Employees and Intellectual Property

56 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2017

See all articles by Ann Monotti

Ann Monotti

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 24, 2015


This working paper reviews and compares some current approaches that universities in the United States of America (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia take to defining the distribution of rights in academic employee IP. These jurisdictions are selected as common-law countries that have a shared heritage, have established resource-based economies and are at similar stages of economic and social development. It commences with a brief overview of the respective legal frameworks that establish the vesting of rights in employee IP. Second, it describes the main developments in the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries that led universities to recognize that they have a pivotal role in driving innovation, a role that includes responsibility for the careful management of the IPRs in academic work. Third, it explains how distinctive features of universities and academic employment within them have influenced the model policies that developed for IPR management in universities. Fourth, it compares and contrasts the approaches of a small number of research-intensive universities in each jurisdiction to ownership and allocation of rights in IPRs created by their academic employees. Finally, some observations are made as to whether the debates as to ownership and distribution of rights in academic employee IP have settled or continue to raise contention.

Keywords: University Faculty, University Academics, Intellectual Property, Patents, Copyright, Innovation, Ownership

Suggested Citation

Monotti, Ann L., University Employees and Intellectual Property (August 24, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Ann L. Monotti (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
+61 3 9905 3377 (Phone)


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