Legal Issues with final year project

Intellectual Property rights

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8 Replies - 2319 Views - Last Post: 24 March 2009 - 03:10 PM

#1 Lydon  Icon User is offline

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Legal Issues with final year project

Posted 24 March 2009 - 06:29 AM

Imagine it's your final year at university and in order to graduate you have to participate in a group project, producing some kind of product.
You will have to show all research and development which is ongoing through the academic year, and then will have to demonstrate your final product in a showcase.

Now, you as the student have done all the work, but the project proposal was put forward by either the University or an external client, who is also wanting the final product to use for their benefit.

During the life of the project, the ideas or development may have changed based on research which you have done, and so the finished product is a bit different to what was asked by the university or the external client at the start of the year.

Question: With different people involved in the project, and with varying degrees of participation, who has the Intellectual Property rights?

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#2 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legal Issues with final year project

Posted 24 March 2009 - 06:40 AM

Depends. Did they make you sign anything? I imagine the rights remain the property of the university since you developed this project for class.
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#3 Lydon  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legal Issues with final year project

Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:15 AM

Nope, haven't signed anything with anyone. It's not an important matter at the moment, but it could be in future.

Reason I'm curious is that I can't really see external clients wanting to get involved in proposing projects and possibly offering help/advice to students throughout, when they reap no benefits at the end, if it is the university who holds the right to everything.

Seems a bit harsh that just because a project must be undertaken as part of a university course, they are allowed to have the rights to everything. Even if there was no participation on their behalf at all...

This post has been edited by Lydon: 24 March 2009 - 07:18 AM

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#4 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legal Issues with final year project

Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:52 AM

Do you have an assigned professor/instructor that is in charge of this project? I would ask around. Especially if what you work on/develop/make could be beneficial to you in the future.
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#5 Lydon  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legal Issues with final year project

Posted 24 March 2009 - 10:59 AM

Yeah, suppose so. Although going by the usual standard of knowledge displayed by tutors at uni, i'm going to be asking a fair few people :crazy:
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#6 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legal Issues with final year project

Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:39 AM

View PostKYA, on 24 Mar, 2009 - 07:40 AM, said:

Depends. Did they make you sign anything?


Someone from the local University (of Akron) gave a presentation of their final project at the Akron Linux Users group meeting once. It was a USB card copier. It ran embedded Linux, you simply put in two USB cards, & pressed the go button.

Before the presentation, he instructed us that he was only allowed to bring it to give the presentation. They made the entire class sign an intellectual property rights ownership agreement, & the end result did not belong the students.

So, KYA, your advice is spot on :)
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#7 Lydon  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legal Issues with final year project

Posted 24 March 2009 - 12:46 PM

Cheers for that no2, but me thinks to be sure, (since nothing has been signed at any stage by anyone) I best check with various people at Uni.
I'm not so much fussed about it belonging to the students (not necessarily just me here either), but would like to know if Uni and the Client are gonna be arguing over who gets to keep whatever has been made.

I don't imagine there'll be any difference on this kinda thing depending on being in the UK or the States??
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#8 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legal Issues with final year project

Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:23 PM

I'm afraid, depending on the university, this could be moot.

"Within any given university there is almost always an intellectual property policy that will govern the patent rights of both faculty and staff members." http://www.law.louis...-patent-rights/

More fun: http://patentbarista...t-infringement/

Many universities have a pretty open policy of live and let live, but some have notably tried to cash in on the unwitting efforts of students.
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#9 Lydon  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legal Issues with final year project

Posted 24 March 2009 - 03:10 PM

Cheers for those links baavgai, interesting read.

I kinda get the feeling that my universities policy on this matter will either be non existent or in drastic need of attention, as external clients haven't really been on the scene before. Its all kinda new...

Fun times ahead :D
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