Policy FAQs

UA System policy on inventions:

Generally, the university owns the rights to all inventions which are the products of university research.

The policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, appointees, or anyone paid by the university and using

university facilities.

Inventor obligations:

Inventors must promptly disclose to the University any invention after it is created, conceived, or first

reduced to practice. Employees by default assign their rights to the university in any invention that they

make that is in the area of their expertise regardless of whether the invention occurred off the campus,

during time off, or during consulting agreements. If the invention is not within the area of expertise in

which the inventor was hired and compensated by the university, and if no university facilities and

resources were used in the research, then ownership of the resulting intellectual property would not be

claimed by the university.

Share of royalties from commercial development of a patent:

An inventor will receive fifty percent (50%) of the first $200,000 of net royalties from the

commercialization of an invention. For any income exceeding $200,000, the inventor will receive thirty-

five percent (35%).

University rights under sponsored research:

Rights to inventions under sponsored research are determined by the provisions of the contractual

agreement between the university and the sponsor. However, in most cases the university will own the

invention. The sponsor may have the right to an option to negotiate for a license to the patent rights.

Publication rights:

The university and the inventor retain the right to publish the results of research. A sponsor may review

the material prior to publication in order to protect any proprietary data.

Copyright policy:

With the exception of computer software, authors own the copyrights to all their works which are not

the result of projects specifically funded by the university or a sponsor of the university.

Software policy:

The university owns the rights to all computer software produced at the university unless the software is

generated solely for classroom instruction. Software produced on an inventor’s own time without the

use of university facilities belongs to that inventor.

A special note on independent student works/inventions:

One of our goals as a campus is to encourage entrepreneurial ventures not only among employees of

the university but also among our student population. When students conceive an invention or develop

another form of creative work on their own, the university cannot claim ownership of their work. Here

are a few tips to keep in mind to determine whether the work is independent:

– The student has developed the idea independently without significant input from university

faculty or staff

– The student is not being paid by the university

– The student has not used university facilities (such as research labs, equipment, etc.) to develop

or reduce in practice their invention

– Even though the student may be paid by the university, the idea is not within the scope of work

for which they are being paid

For example, let’s consider a situation in which a student develops an idea for a mobile app and builds it

using her own laptop or device. She may have used the UA Little Rock computer labs to gather some basic

information and may have consulted with her professor for minor details (or perhaps the app was

developed as part of her course work such as a capstone project). In this scenario, the university cannot

claim ownership of the student intellectual property given that it meets the criteria listed above. Please

note that facilities such as computer labs or the library are generally considered services to which

students have access and for which they pay through tuition and fees.