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Student Generated Intellectual Property: Preliminary Results From A Research Instrument Used To Capture Student, Faculty, And Industry Partner Perspectives And Expectations

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

IP and Supporting Student Startups

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1161.1 - 11.1161.17



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Paper Authors

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Craig Silvernagel University of North Dakota


Richard Schultz University of North Dakota

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Dr. Richard R. Schultz is associate professor and interim chair of electrical engineering at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. He received the B.S.E.E. degree from UND in 1990, and the M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Notre Dame in 1992 and 1995, respectively. Dr. Schultz joined the UND faculty in 1995, and his teaching and research interests are in signal and image processing, embedded systems, technology entrepreneurship, and systems engineering.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Student-Generated Intellectual Property: Preliminary Results from a Research Instrument Used to Capture Student, Faculty, and Industry Partner Perspectives and Expectations


An area of great interest within academia is the ownership of student-generated intellectual property (IP), particularly in an era when entrepreneurship and innovation are being stressed across academic disciplines. Students involved in engineering capstone design projects, business plan courses and competitions, and research activities have immense potential to conceive and prototype product, process, system, and service concepts within the university classroom and laboratory environment. Faculty members serving as mentors and liaisons to industry partners generally facilitate the innovation process in the context of their employment as university professionals. The research questions addressed in this project focus on who actually owns the intellectual property generated in the many possible partnership scenarios that arise among the students, faculty, and outside entities associated with a particular project, as well as whether students and faculty have a working understanding of IP ownership and what it really means to them. Through support by the North Dakota Small Business Development Center, a research instrument is currently under development to study the issue of student-generated intellectual property in more depth. The underlying assumptions used in the survey are that claims to IP ownership for a particular project are really based on the answers to three fundamental questions: (1) Who formulated the problem statement? (2) Who solved the problem? (3) How significant was the use of resources (e.g., human resources, financial resources, and facilities and/or equipment) by the people formulating and/or solving the problem? The primary purpose of this survey is to capture the attitudes of respondents on issues related to joint intellectual property ownership based on university student-generated intellectual property, with a secondary goal of capturing respondent expectations on issues related to joint intellectual property ownership among partnering institutions and people. The target audience includes university faculty, staff, and students; company owners, management, and employees; and federal, state, and local government employees. Preliminary results gathered from a small sample of students within University of North Dakota classrooms suggests that students today generally feel that they own their ideas, and they are not willing to share this ownership with their faculty mentors. Students feel that their tuition dollars are sufficient for providing institutional resources that can be used to refine their business concepts. However, if a project is financially supported by an industry partner or government agency and the students get paid for their work, then they do believe that a low level of ownership lies with the university, corporation, and/or government. In an era of software and digital music piracy that is completely accepted by modern university students, it is apparent that they believe either their ideas are open to all (i.e., open source movement), or that their ideas belong exclusively to them. Maybe we have moved from Generation X to Generation Y to “Generation iPod.”

Silvernagel, C., & Schultz, R. (2006, June), Student Generated Intellectual Property: Preliminary Results From A Research Instrument Used To Capture Student, Faculty, And Industry Partner Perspectives And Expectations Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--291

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