What rights does a research sponsor have to any discoveries associated with my research?

The Sponsored Research Agreement should specify the intellectual property (IP) rights of the sponsor. The University generally retains ownership of the patent rights and other intellectual property resulting from sponsored research. However, the sponsor may have rights to obtain a license to the defined and expected outcomes of the research. Often, sponsored research contracts allow the sponsor a limited time to negotiate a license for any patent or intellectual property rights developed as the result of the research. Even so, the sponsor generally will not have contractual rights to discoveries that are clearly outside of the scope of the research. Therefore, it is important to define the scope of work within a research agreement.

Sponsored research projects are handled by the Office of Research Contracts for the Medical School/Health System and Office of Research Support for the University. Project representatives from both these offices work closely with OTC on intellectual property issues in sponsored research agreements. If you have questions about sponsored research, please contact your project representative responsible for your unit.