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Student Ownership

Ownership of Intellectual Property Created by Students at the University of Illinois

Ownership of intellectual property is governed by Article 3 of The General Rules Concerning University Organization and Procedure (“General Rules”)

The University owns all IP developed by any University employee or by anyone, including students, using University facilities, equipment or funds, except for certain copyrightable works or where an exception to the General Rules is expressly granted as described below.

IP could be student owned

  • If the intellectual property is made in the course of student created start up activities pursuant to a campus initiative where limited amounts of funding, space and other resources are provided for student-initiated and directed start-up activities.

IP is student owned

  • If the intellectual property is made as part of a course if the only University facilities used were those routinely made available by the College/Department to all students enrolled in the course and an exception to the ownership rules for the course has been granted in writing by the Vice Chancellor for Research prior to the start of the course.


Student-created copyrightable works are student owned

Copyrightable works prepared by students as part of their degree requirements are the property of the student. The original records (including software) of an investigation for a graduate thesis or dissertation are owned by the University but may be retained by the student at the discretion of the student’s major department. The University shall have, as a condition of awarding the degree, the royalty-free right to retain, use and distribute a limited number of copies of the thesis, together with the right to require its publication for archival use.

Copyrightable works created independently and at the student’s own initiative for academic purposes are owned by the student.

Copyrightable works created by the student with the use of resources over and above those usually and customarily provided are owned by the student, but the University retains the right to use such works in its internally administered programs of teaching, research and public service

Any intellectual property created by the student outside of a course for which an exception to the General Rules has been granted must be reported to the Office of Technology Management via its fillable disclosure form, Ownership determinations will be made by the OTM as part of its disclosure review process.