Who Owns Student Inventions Created on School Property: School or Student?


February 1, 2011
by Suada Kolovic
Imagine this: There’s a contest at your university to create the next big iPhone app, the next Angry Birds if you will. On a whim, you decide to enter and miraculously (or not so miraculously given your tech savvy) you win! You’re overcome with pride and joy and begin fantasizing about a life of excess. It’s only after you’ve mentally purchased everything under the sun that reality sets in and you realize you haven’t read the fine print: The university where you did the bulk of your designing may assert a partial or complete claim to the product you’ve created. If you think that’s less than awesome, then you’re right on par with a group of students at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

Imagine this: There’s a contest at your university to create the next big iPhone app, the next Angry Birds if you will. On a whim, you decide to enter and miraculously (or not so miraculously given your tech savvy) you win! You’re overcome with pride and joy and begin fantasizing about a life of excess. It’s only after you’ve mentally purchased everything under the sun that reality sets in and you realize you haven’t read the fine print: The university where you did the bulk of your designing may assert a partial or complete claim to the product you’ve created. If you think that’s less than awesome, then you’re right on par with a group of students at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

The team of said students designed an iPhone app for a contest hosted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. To be fair, the university did inform students of the policy prior to entering the competition which led to some students dropping out, said Anthony Brown, then an undergraduate in the department of journalism. But despite their reservations, Mr. Brown and his team, fellow students Zhenhua Ma, Dan Wang and Peng Zhuang, decided they’d stay in. They won the competition with an app called NearBuy (which gives you the ability to search for condos and houses by location using the iPhone's built-in locate-me technologies) and contacted the university to assert their ownership and to ask the university to waive any intent to assert ownership, according to the Chronicle. They argued that student inventions, even if fostered to some degree by faculty mentors, stood apart from the work done by faculty members using university resources.

Faculty members of the journalism department signed letters supporting the students’ case. And ultimately administrators agreed with the students and allowed them to maintain full ownership of their app, which to date has been downloaded over a quarter of a million times.

To some extent because of the case, the University of Missouri decided to rewrite its intellectual-property policy to better address student inventions. According to Michael F. Nichols, vice president for research and economic development for the Missouri system, the rules now cover everything from work students do as part of a class, to student work created as part of a competition, to work students do in an extracurricular group that is sponsored by the university. Keep in mind Missouri’s regulations aren’t the norm at all universities. How would you feel knowing, or not knowing for that matter, that if you were to create something on campus your university would have the rights to it?

College is expensive, Scholarships.com is completely free. Pay for your college education with as much free college scholarship money as possible. By applying to all the awards you qualify for, you can be sure to not miss a single opportunity in paying for your college expenses - including tuition, fees, room and board. Get matched to college scholarships instantly and start applying today by conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 

    When it comes to earning scholarships for college, some students have the go big or go home mentality and chase the big buck scholarship opportunities. Landing a huge scholarship may take more work - meaning more time spent on the application process and essays, needing strong recommendation letters and competing against a pool of highly-qualified students. If you're motivated to land a large dollar scholarship that can potentially pay for your entire college tuition, check out these generously-endowed scholarships:

Large Dollar Scholarships

June 23, 2017 11:01 AM
by Susan Dutca
When it comes to earning scholarships for college, some students have the "go big or go home" mentality and chase the big buck scholarship opportunities. Landing a huge scholarship may take

    Everyone knows big-name companies such as Google or Coca-Cola...but did you know that these companies also offer scholarship opportunities to help you pay for college? That's right! If you love these quality products and services, you may be interested these generously-endowed scholarships. Check out this list of brand name scholarships offered by the companies with which you are most familiar:

Brand Name Scholarships

June 22, 2017 2:44 PM
by Susan Dutca
Everyone knows big-name companies such as Google or Coca-Cola...but did you know that these companies also offer scholarship opportunities to help you pay for college? That's right! If you love

    Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is the day in which we celebrate America's independence and freedom. Education has been, and will always be a great equalizer. Even though college can be expensive, it is still a fast track towards the American Dream and can be more easily attained with the help of financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships - which do not have to be repaid! Exercise your freedom this July and help make your college education dreams more affordable with these red, white and blue July 2017 scholarships:

July 2017 Summer Scholarships

June 22, 2017 11:43 AM
by Susan Dutca
Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is the day in which we celebrate America's independence and freedom. Education has been, and will always be a great equalizer. Even though
POTUS Donald Trump is pushing for apprenticeship programs and intends to support the initiative with an apprenticeship grant program of up to $200 million, with special emphasis on industries such as information technology,  healthcare, and manufacturing. The college alternative initiative hopes to attract and prepare students for great careers that do not require a four-year degree or the massive debt that often comes with those four-year degrees and even two-year degrees.

POTUS Pushing Apprenticeship Programs, Grants in 2017

June 14, 2017 11:16 AM
by Susan Dutca
POTUS Donald Trump is pushing for apprenticeship programs and intends to support the initiative with an apprenticeship grant program of up to $200 million, with special emphasis on industries such as

    Summer is finally here and fall semester may be the last thing on your mind right now. However, you may be one of the many students who need to work a summer gig, save up, or rely on your parents and student loans to help foot your fall tuition bill. While those are all legitimate options, you now have more free time (and less homework and tests), so why not take advantage of these summer scholarships? It's not too late to earn free college scholarships to help pay for school. Use your downtime wisely by applying for these summer 2017 scholarships!:

Summer 2017 Scholarships

June 2, 2017 3:47 PM
by Susan Dutca
Summer is finally here and fall semester may be the last thing on your mind right now. However, you may be one of the many students who need to work a summer gig, save up, or rely on your

    In support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGTBQ) Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is adding more color to its themed scholarships with scholarships for LGBTQ students and allies. Scholarships.com is dedicated to bringing equal financial aid and free college scholarship opportunities for all students.

LGBT Scholarships for Pride Month 2017

June 1, 2017 11:42 AM
by Susan Dutca
In support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGTBQ) Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is adding more color to its themed scholarships with scholarships for LGBTQ students and