14.2 General Considerations
Nondisclosure and Confidentiality Agreements raise significant concerns. The terms of such an agreement may conflict with the University’s Openness in Research Policy. A contractual commitment to keep information secret can severely restrict the ability of University faculty to pursue research in the manner they choose and can make it impossible for the University to protect ideas and inventions deriving from the work of its faculty and researchers. Once signed, any violation of a nondisclosure or confidentiality agreement can result in an injunction or monetary damages being assessed against the discloser. It is imperative that the General Counsel be consulted whenever it appears that the University may be the recipient of information or items that are proprietary, confidential, or otherwise subject to a promise not to disclose. It is forbidden to sign or otherwise bind the University to a confidentiality obligation without first having obtained written approval from the General Counsel.
14.2.2 Intellectual Property
“Intellectual Property” includes, among other things, new or novel devices, processes, compounds, materials, and authored works (such as software) that may be eligible for protection under laws governing patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets.
14.2.3 More than incidental use of University resources
“More than incidental use of University resources” refers to more than minimal use of specialized, research-related facilities, equipment, supplies, or staff provided by the University for academic purposes, as well as significant use of "on-the-job" time.
The occasional and infrequent use of the following would typically not constitute “more than incidental use of University resources”:
Routinely available, office-type equipment, including desktop computers and commercially-available software, and
Reference materials or other resources collected on the University campus, and which are generally available in non-University locations.
14.2.4 Assignment of Rights
If the Technology Licensing Section (TLS) cannot, or decides not to, proceed in a timely manner to patent and/or license an invention, TLS may assign ownership to the inventor or inventors upon request to the extent possible under the terms of any agreement with a sponsoring agency that supported or related to the work. In such cases, the inventor may request and be granted rights by the sponsoring agency to an invention made under such an agreement provided that a well-conceived and detailed plan for commercial development accompanies the request.
14.2.5 Public Domain
Following consultation with the TLS, the inventor, or inventors acting collectively when there are more than one, may place inventions in the public domain if that would be in the best interest of technology transfer and if doing so is not in violation of the terms of any agreements that supported or governed the work. The University will not assert IP rights when inventors have thus placed their inventions in the public domain.
Agencies sponsoring research at the University usually require reports of all inventions, whether or not they are considered patentable.