Intellectual Property Policy

Patent Policy of Franklin & Marshall College

  1. The objective of the College patent policy is to facilitate the invention, transfer, and application of new technology that promises to be of benefit to the general public and, at the same time, to protect the interests of the inventor and the College.  It applies to all employees and students of Franklin & Marshall College.
  2. Limitations exist with respect to the extent and manner in which the College, as a tax-exempt institution, may be involved in the exploitation of invention.  This patent policy is not to be interpreted or administered in a way that jeopardizes this tax-free status.
  3. Patent rights to inventions developed through individual initiative, not as part of the individual’s responsibilities as a College employee or student, and with only incidental use of College facilities or resources, shall be owned by the inventor; any royalty income from the invention accrues to the inventor alone. However, if such an individual’s effort in developing the invention or securing a patent on the invention is significantly assisted by the use of College facilities, resources, or personnel, the College shall be entitled to equal ownership with the inventor in the invention. The individual shall be obligated to sign all documents that are reasonably necessary to completely transfer all rights in and to the invention and any patents and/or patent applications on the invention to the College.  In this latter case the College and the inventor will normally share equally in any revenue from the invention, subject to Section 12.
  4. The College shall be the owner of inventions developed while carrying out one’s responsibilities as a College employee or student.  The individual shall be obligated to execute whatever instruments are reasonably necessary to evidence or perfect the vesting of such rights in and to the invention and any patents and patent applications thereon to the College. Any revenue from the invention will normally be divided equally by the College and the inventor, subject to Section 12.
  5. The patent policy will be administered by the Provost of the College.  When an employee or student of the College reasonably believes that he/she has developed an invention which would be governed by Section 3 or 4 of this patent policy the inventor shall notify the Office of the Provost within seven (7) days of such belief by submitting a properly executed invention disclosure to the Office of the Provost. 
    Commentary: The Office of the Provost will assist and implement this patent policy.
  6. Upon receipt of the invention disclosure, the Provost shall convene the Patent Committee.  This Patent Committee consists of three voting members—a person designated by the Provost, a person designated by the President of the College, and a person designated by the Vice President for Finance—and one non-voting member, the inventor or the inventor’s representative.  The Patent Committee shall review and determine the rights of the College in the invention according to this patent policy.  If the Patent Committee determines that the College has rights in the invention, the College shall have the sole right to determine the disposition of the invention. A decision as to whether the College has rights in the invention shall be transmitted in writing to the inventor as soon as possible but no longer than 180 days after the date of submission of the invention disclosure. When the College determines that it does not have rights in the invention, such rights devolve on the inventor.
  7. If at any time, after the College exercises due diligence, the College determines it does not want to exercise its rights in the invention, the College may relinquish its rights in the invention by informing the inventor in writing of its decision not to exercise its rights.  At such time, all rights in the invention devolve on the inventor.
  8. When an invention is developed through a sponsored grant or contract, the provisions contained in the grant or contract must prevail.  In the absence of such provisions, the College patent policy applies.
    Commentary: Federal law enacted in 1980 and amended in 1984 provides the institution with title to inventions made or conceived in the performance of federally sponsored research.
  9. Disputes concerning application of the patent policy shall be resolved by a review panel of three members: a representative of the inventor, the Vice President for Finance of the College, and the Provost of the College.
  10. After determining that the College has rights in the invention, the Office of the Provost will assist with exploratory patent and marketing evaluations to determine whether the College is prepared to exercise its option to sponsor a technology transfer effort.
  11. If the Office of the Provost determines that the College wishes to sponsor development of the invention, it will open an account to which expenses associated with its subsequent efforts are charged.  Such expenses will include all associated invoiced costs such as legal and patent filing fees, plus an allowance for the institutional effort involved in patent preparation, license negotiation, and such.  This allowance will be 10% of gross revenues received on any license agreement.
  12. Revenues received from the invention will first be used to recover expenses accumulated in the account associated with the development of the invention.  Following recovery of expenses net revenues will be split 50% to the College and 50% to the inventor, unless another arrangement was previously set forth in writing.

Policy Maintained by: The Office of the Provost, Associate Dean of the Faculty

Last Reviewed:  August 31, 2018

Approved by Senior Staff:  November 2014