Patents and Copyrights

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All intellectual property (IP)-related activities at Western are managed by RSP, including initial assessment, protection, and development through licensing and other third-party agreements.  Western faculty and other employees who believe they may have produced IP with potential value should disclose their inventions to RSP as early in the inventive process as possible.

Western seeks to foster the development of its inventions and discoveries through patenting and licensing to industry.  RSP also reviews IP language in contracts and other sponsored research agreements to help ensure the interests of faculty and the University are represented.

IP refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.  IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks. Patents grant a right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention, process, or design, and copyrights provide similar benefits for written and artistic work.  

According to Western's patent and copyright policy and Collective Bargaining Agreement, the University has the right to own any discovery or invention created using university facilities, equipment, or funds controlled or administered by Western.  Additionally, Western may be required by state and federal statutes, industrial research agreements, and other obligations to manage the IP that results from the university's research programs. 

Conversely, Western claims no vested interest in inventions resulting from personal or private research developed without expense to, or use of facilities, equipment or staff of the University, though such inventions may be voluntarily offered to the University.  Furthermore, except for works produced or written for hire, any publishable material produced by a member of the faculty or staff of the University is also the exclusive literary property of the author.

Recent Patents Awarded to Western Faculty

  • US 10,406,509 B2 (2019) Nanoscale nickel phosphide catalyst for hydrotreatment.  M. Bussell.
  • US 9,970,034 B2 (2018) Use of marine algae for co-producing alkenones, alkenone derivatives, and co-products. C.M. Reddy, G.W. O'Neil, S.R. Lindell.
  • US 9,964,680 B2 (2018) Photoluminescent semiconductor nanocrystal-based luminescent solar concentrators. D.L. Patrick, J. Gilbertson, S. McDowall, D.L. Gameling, L. Bradshaw, E.J. Mclaurin, K.E. Knowles.
  • US 9,879,288 B2 (2018) Use of marine algae for producing polymers.  S.R. Lindell, C.M. Reddy, G.W. O'Neil.