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Student Patents On Inter University Projects

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.904.1 - 6.904.7

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Paper Authors

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Mark Rajai

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Mel Mendelson

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

Session 3655

Student Patents on Inter-University Projects

Mel I. Mendelson,1 Mark Rajai2 1 Loyola Marymount University / 2East Tennessee State University


In most universities the students relinquish their patent rights when they enroll in courses. A different model is proposed where the students can own their patents and receive 98% of the net income, or they can assign the rights to the university and receive generous royalty sharing.

I. Introduction

In 1999, a grant between Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and East Tennessee State University (ETSU) was obtained from the Lemelson Foundation [1]. The goal of the grant was to develop joint, collaborative curriculum in New Product Development and Entrepreneurship between the two universities. Here teams of students from both universities interacted as joint companies to create new products that improved the quality of life for people [2-4] .

Prior to releasing the funds, the Lemelson Foundation requested that both universities submit their intellectual property policies. After further investigation, it was discovered that the patent policy of each university was totally different. This occurred because LMU is a small, private university in California, and ETSU is a medium-size state university. The key question was: “What should be the patent policy for two universities working on joint projects?”

In addition, the collaboration of the student teams created another intellectual property issue: “What are the patent rights of the students?” Our intent was to be creative in solving the student patent issues. It should be mentioned that the ideas in this paper have not been fully implemented. The purpose of this paper is to describe the process that was used to determine ownership and distribution of income between two universities and the students. II. Background

The formation of two joint graduate courses, New Product Development and Entrepreneurship, was between LMU’s Engineering and Production Management and MBA graduate programs and ETSU’s Engineering Technology Department. The New Product Development course also involved industrial consultants from TRW and Boeing, who were experts in concurrent

“Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

Rajai, M., & Mendelson, M. (2001, June), Student Patents On Inter University Projects Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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