Working Conditions and Related Policies


5.7.1  Intellectual Property

[This policy was adopted by the Board of Visitors on September 19, 1987 and updated in 2004.]  Applicability of the Intellectual Property Policy    The policy applies to all University employees, whether their appointments are permanent or temporary, full-time or part-time, salaried, on wages or on contract, paid by state funds or by outside sponsors.  It also applies to students of the University enrolled in programs of study leading to degrees and to visitors who may from time to time participate in University programs or activities.  General Statement on Ownership of Intellectual Property    Intellectual property is understood to be any property to which the owner holds a patent or a copyright, or which may be considered to be patentable or copyrightable.  In general, University employees, students, and visitors shall retain all rights relating to intellectual property developed on their own initiative without substantial use of University facilities and resources.  This provision includes copyrighting of papers published in journals, articles written for popular publication, books (including textbooks), computer software, film, photographs, and videotape, unless the copyrighted materials were developed as a specific part of a University assignment.  It also includes patenting of inventions, unless the patentable invention was developed as a specific part of a University assignment.  Cases in Which the University Obtains Entire Right, Title, and Interest    The University shall obtain the entire right, title and interest in all materials subject to copyright or patent when the materials result from an assigned duty of an employ­ee, student, or visitor, or when the University provides substantial specific support for the develop­ment of the materials in the form of space, facilities, and/or equipment and supplies.  The University will not construe the provision of the usual office, library, laboratory, computing facilities, equip­ment and sup­plies that are part of its regular instructional program as constitut­ing substantial specific support except for those situations where the copyrightable or patentable material was developed in response to a specific University assignment.  A faculty member’s general obligation to maintain a level of professional activity as a scholar does not constitute such a specific University assignment.  Intellectual Property in Instances of Outside Employment, Grants, and/or Contracts    Materials or inventions developed by University employees, students, or visitors in the course of contractual or consulting work for outside organizations, or as sup­ported by funds and facilities awarded as grants to the University by govern­mental, commer­cial, industrial or other organizations, shall not be considered as having been made or developed with specific University support, except in situations where the University itself is party to the contract or consulting agree­ment and declares proprietary interest, or the University’s proprietary interest is defined and made a specific part of the conditions of the grant.  Accordingly, the rights to such materials or inventions shall remain with the individual, subject to any agreement there may be in the actual contract, consulting agreement, or grant.  Policy Administration    Administrative responsibility of this Policy on Intellectual Property is vested in the Provost.  Procedures for Notification    All intellectual property in which the University may claim interest under this policy shall be promptly reported in writing by its creator(s) to the Provost.  If more than one in­dividual participated in the development, the report shall be signed by all such participants and shall identify the percent of interest of each.  The report shall constitute a full and complete description of the intellectual property concerned, and identify the source(s) of any funding that has supported its creation.  The participants shall furnish such additional information and execute such documents from time to time as the Provost may reasonably request.  Following receipt of any report of the creation of intellectual property, the Provost, after consulting with other University officials as appropriate, shall promptly advise the creator(s), in writing, whether or not the University claims a proprietary interest.  University Ownership of Intellectual Property    The University shall, in a timely manner, obtain (and market), or arrange for some appropriate outside agency such as the Center for Innovative Technology or the Research Corporation to obtain (and market), the copyright or patent to intellectual property in which the University claims a proprietary interest.  The University will not, prior to obtaining a patent, disclose the details of an invention to anyone who does not need to know those details, or to anyone who is not under an obligation of confidentiality.  The University will have all rights to use, promote, manage, market, sell or in any other way dispose of such intellectual property, on such terms and conditions, and for such consideration, if any, as the University shall determine.  The University and the creator(s) shall share equally in any (gross) royalties, except in instances where some other alloca­tion of interest shares is specified in a pre-existing agreement.  The University will contribute its share of any royalties from intellectual property it owns to the University Foundation, to be used by the Foundation as its Board of Directors may determine.  If the creation of an intellectual property was supported by money from the General Fund earmarked for the pur­pose by the General Assembly or the University, royalties from that property will be used to reimburse the Commonwealth for the cost of creation.  If the University fails to make progress toward obtaining a copyright or patent (and marketing such) in which the creator(s) have a share within a period of eighteen (18) months after the submission of the report described above, the creator(s) may for­mally make a written request to the President that the ownership of the intellectual proper­ty pass to the creator(s).  Dispute Resolution    Any dispute which may arise over anything within this Policy on Intellectual Property should be presented to the President, who, in resolving the dispute, may convene a committee of three individuals to advise him or her.  The committee will consist of one employee of the University named by the creator(s) of the intellectual property in question, a second employee of the University named by the Provost, and a third named by the President.  Both this committee and the President will be advised as well by the University’s assigned representative of the Office of the Attorney General.

5.7.2  Protection of Persons and Property    Faculty members must personally take responsibility for protection of University property and personnel by locking all buildings, classrooms, workrooms, and storerooms as appropriate.
Faculty members are assigned keys for their offices, buildings, and other necessary areas by the University Police Office.  Faculty members are expected to be fully informed concerning any hazards attending any equipment or materials they use in courses they teach, in laboratories, studios, shops, or elsewhere, and to supervise carefully all activity involving hazardous equip­ment or materials.

5.7.3  Policy on Use of Computers and Networks and Network Administration Users of information technology resources at the University must use them responsibly and within limitations. Users also must meet certain responsibilities and are subject to certain limitations, which are listed in the Network and Computer Use Policy. Users who fail to meet their responsibilities or who fail to operate within the limitations may have their network privileges suspended or revoked and may be subject to other disciplinary actions. Using University-owned computers, networks, or other information technology resources constitutes acknowledgment that the user understands and commits to compliance with the University’s Network and Computer Use Policy and related policies and procedures. The UMW computer network consists of an institution-wide backbone, local area network, and many shared computers, as well as personal desktop computers and other computing devices. The various systems administrators work to ensure that network privileges are properly maintained for all University users. Additional details about the Network and Computer Use Policy and periodic updates to it are available at

5.7.4  Virginia Freedom of Information Act    All requests for university-related information, utilizing provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), must be directed to the Office of Advancement and University Relations.  Requests from the news media will be researched and answered by that office.  Requests for information from non-media sources will be logged by that office and referred to the appropriate campus office for immediate response and resolution.

5.7.5  Access to Resources    All full-time faculty will be provided with an office, a computer, network access, telephone and voice mail services upon commencement of their contracts. All adjunct faculty are provided with shared office space, ideally in arrangements of one office per teaching position (defined as five courses in a semester).  All adjunct faculty are provided with at least shared access to a personal computer, one per office.