Patents and Copyrights Committee


I. Name

A. Advisory Committee on Patents and Copyrights 2012

II. Purpose and Scope

A. In concert with the University Policy on Patents and Copyrights and Guidelines for Implementation, the function of the Advisory Committee on Patents and Copyrights is to advise and assist the President in all matters involving patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Among its basic responsibilities in carrying out its purpose, the committee:

  1. Has the responsibility for implementing the University Policy on Patents and Copyrights and its Guidelines for Implementation.
  2. Recommends changes to the University Policy on Patents and Copyrights and its Guidelines for Implementation.
  3. Receives disclosures of inventions and copyrightable materials from faculty, staff, and students.
  4. Recommends whether or not the University should pursue an invention for Letters of Patent or to waive and assign rights to the inventor(s).
  5. Recommends whether or not the University should register copyrightable materials or waive and assign rights to the author.
  6. Recommends the percentage of income sharing with an inventor or an author.
  7. Recommends whether or not inventions and copyrightable material(s) should be marketed.

III. Members

A. The membership is appointed by the President of the University.

  1. Faculty - A minimum of one member from each college or school.
  2. Student- At least one undergraduate and one graduate student.
  3. Terms of Office - Members shall serve terms of three 3) years beginning at the time of appointment. Students shall serve a term of one (1) year beginning at the time of appointment. Appointments are to be effective a the beginning of the Fall Semester, and all members’ terms are subject to renewal at the discretion of the President
  4. Vacancies - If a member is unable to continue service on the Committee, another member representing the same basic constituency shall be appointed by the President of the University to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.
  5. Attendance at Meetings - If a member is unavoidably absent from a meeting, he/she may designate a representative to attend, provided the representative is someone from the same basic unit of the University as the regular member and that the Chairperson of the Committee is notified ahead of time as to who this representative would be and under what circumstances he/she would be attending the meeting. This representative shall exercise the rights and privileges of the member for whom he/she is attending; that is, the right to vote, the right to make motions, and the right to second motions.

IV. Officers

A. Chairperson - The Chairperson shall be elected annually from the Committee membership. He/she shall:

  1. Preside at all meetings or designate another member to preside.
  2. Schedule regular meetings of the Committee.
  3. Prepare a tentative agenda for each meeting for distribution to members of the Committee at least three working days prior to regular meetings and one day prior to special meetings.
  4. Approve the draft minutes of the meetings for distribution to the members of the Committee for review and approval.
  5. Appoint special subcommittees as required.
  6. Call special meetings when necessary.
  7. Supervise the preparation and distribution of an Annual Report of the Committee's activities.

B. Executive Officer - The President will appoint a staff member to serve as executive officer and resource person and to provide staff support services.

V. Conduct of Meetings

A. Regular meetings shall be scheduled at least once per semester during the regular academic year.

B. The Chairperson may call a special meeting when he/she deems such action necessary.

C. Items for inclusion in the tentative agenda of a regular meeting must be submitted to the Chairperson at least five working days prior to the meeting. Items for inclusion in the tentative agenda of a special meeting must be submitted to the Chairperson at least two working days prior to the meeting. Any member of the University community may submit tentative agenda items to the Chairperson.

D. A simple majority of the voting members shall constitute a quorum. If a quorum is not present, the meeting may proceed, but all discussion items requiring a vote, such as approval of minutes for the previous meeting, shall be sent to the full committee for balloting by mail.

E. The agenda shall be adopted at the beginning of each meeting by a majority vote of those present.

F. In any matter requiring a vote, the vote of each member present (except advisory members) shall be recorded equally.

VI. Subcommittees

A. No standing subcommittees are authorized.

B. Special subcommittees shall be appointed by the Chairperson as he/she shall deem necessary to carry on specific items of work of the Committee.

VII. Parliamentary Authority

A. The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern committee meetings in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these procedures. Suspension of these rules may be effected by a majority of the voting members present.

VIII. Amendment of Procedures

A. These procedures can be amended at any regular meeting of the Committee by a two-thirds vote of the voting members present, provided that the amendment has been submitted in writing to each member at least three (3) working days prior to the meeting. Amendments to Procedures are subject to final approval by the Administrative Council.

IX. Committee Action and Review

A. Actions of this Committee are subject to review and approval by the President or his designee.

X. Effective Date of Implementation

A. These procedures shall become effective when approved by the Administrative Council.

Date of this Revision: 2/15/91

Date Approved by the Administrative Council:



These guidelines define the procedures to be used by the Advisory Committee on Patents and Copyrights in implementing Tennessee Technological University's Policy dated March 11, 1998. A graphical representation of the patent filing process may be found here .


The University has established an Advisory Committee on Patents and Copyrights for the purpose of advising the President on all matters involving patents and copyrights. Membership shall be composed of faculty and staff experienced in research, innovation and the production of copyrightable materials. A majority of the membership shall be from the faculty.

  1. Meetings
    The Committee shall meet as often as necessary to transact its business, but no less than once per semester.
  2. Documents
    The Committee shall develop the documents necessary for the pursuit of the patent, trademark and copyright process. The completed documents shall be submitted to the President or designee for approval.
  3. Disclosures
    The Committee, through its Chairperson, shall receive disclosures of inventions and copyrights from persons who are subject to Section 3.0 of the policy. The content of the disclosure document will be evaluated as to clarity, completeness and its applicability to Section 3.0 of the policy.
  4. Rights
    On receipt and acceptance of a disclosure document, the Committee will identify the source of support; that is, external funding, University funding and/or use of University facilities. The Committee Chairperson will request the inventor or person disclosing copyrightable materials to execute the Assignment of Rights document assigning all rights to the University and to the Tennessee Board of Regents in accordance with Section 7.0 of the policy.
    1. Significant Use
      • Computers
      • Faculty Research Fund
      • Library Loan Service
    2. Copyrights
      The individual(s) developing copyrightable materials shall receive not less than 50 percent of the net income.
    3. Patents
      The individual(s) disclosing the invention shall receive not less than 50 percent of the net income.
  5. Assessment
    Internal Review

    The Committee will conduct an internal evaluation of the idea contained in the patent/copyright disclosure to determine if it appears valid and clearly presented. In this evaluation, assistance from committee members as well as from faculty and staff of the University may be sought.
    • If the preliminary evaluation is positive, a determination will be made whether waivers or releases are needed to satisfy the requirements of the party or agency funding the project.
    • If the preliminary evaluation is negative, the disclosure will be returned to the submitting person with an explanation of the rejection. The disclosure may be reconsidered with new information or clarification of the original information. If it is resubmitted, then the Committee will proceed as if it were an original submittal
    • External Review
      If the internal preliminary evaluation is positive and the appropriate waivers regarding the support source have been acquired, the disclosures may be sent to an organization or a patent attorney for the second level of evaluation. This level of evaluation is a cursory review by professionals in the appropriate area of the art to determine if the idea is possibly patentable.
  6. Recommendations
    After the Committee has completed its investigation, a report containing recommendations will be sent to the President or designee recommending
    • to pursue patent/copyright proceedings or
    • to return the disclosure to the inventor and waive all claims.
  7. Actions

    The President will indicate in a reasonable time whether or not the recommendations from the Committee are acceptable (or to be modified) and will give directions to the Committee for actions, if any, to be taken.
    • Committee
      If a patent/copyright application is to be initiated by the University, the Assignment of Rights document will be sent by the Chairperson to the President or designee for signature and approval of the royalty-sharing fee. If approved, the Chairperson will distribute copies to the inventor and other appropriate parties.
  8. Patent Application
    Within three (3) months after receiving the President's approval, the University will proceed with the application by either
    • contracting with a patent attorney or
    • entering into an agreement with an evaluation and/or marketing individual or organization.
    • If the University chooses neither to file an application nor dedicate to the public an invention in which it holds property rights, the University will waive all rights and return materials to the inventor on request.
  9. Patent Marketing
    Within six (6) months after the date of issuance of the letters of patent, the University must demonstrate a commitment toward the commercial development of the invention. If a patent is to be licensed, the license agreement must be approved by both the inventor and the University. In the event that the University decides not to seek commercial development of the invention, the inventor may request a return of all rights.
  10. Copyright Application
    The Committee will proceed with the application either with internal or external assistance. The author has the right to choose the publisher.
  11. Financial
    Before entering into an agreement for patent or copyright application, the Committee will determine the availability of funds to pursue the application. If funds are not available, the Committee will return the disclosure and assignments document to the inventor.


Patents and Copyrights Committee 11/20/97
TTU Administrative Council 1/21/98
Tennessee Board of Regents 3/11 /98





Term Expiration

Mike Allen 5054 2014
Ali Alouani 5004 2012
Michael Best 5034 2012
David Elizandro 5073 2012
Sherrie Foster 5031 2013
Kim Hanna 5001 2013
Pat McGee 5066 2013
Scott Northrup 5055 2012
Jeffrey Thompson 7001 2012
Daniel Tribble 8597 2012
Ken Wiant 5083 2014

Contact Office of Research with your request at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it | 931.372.3374

 Policy on Patents and Copyrights | Policy 15.0

 Tennessee Technological University acknowledges that the faculty and staff may from time to time conceive an idea or discover a process that could lead to the development of a patent or the production of copyrightable materials. The University encourages such activities by the faculty and staff and recognizes its responsibility to see that ideas and discoveries are administered for the best interest of all parties concerned, including the public. Since the results of research conducted as topics for M.S. theses and Ph.D. dissertations cannot be held confidential/proprietary, it is important that the research topics and results be open for public inspection. Further, it is critical that students not use work on sponsored research as their topic if the research is to be held as confidential/proprietary. We are working with TBR staff for an acceptable method of handling this issue.

NOTE: If there is any variance between Tennessee Technological University's Intellectual Property policy and Tennessee Board of Regent's (TBR) Intellectual Property policy, the TBR policy shall take precedence.

Statement of Policy

  1. Authorization
    The University is authorized to seek and hold patents and copyrights, to assign their rights, and to execute royalty-sharing agreements subject to the approval of the Chancellor or his designated representative. In executing this authority, the University will develop and implement a campus wide policy on patents and copyrights consistent with Tennessee Board of Regents Policy 5:01:06:00 dated September 24, 1982 and September 21, 1990.
  2. Committee on Patents and Copyrights
    The University shall create a committee to advise and assist the President in all matters involving patents, trademarks and copyrights. The committee shall consist of faculty and staff experienced in research, innovation and the production of copyrighted materials and a majority of its membership shall be selected from the faculty. The committee shall develop procedures for its conduct of business and all forms necessary for the implementation of this policy.
  3. Applicability
    This policy shall apply when any one of the following three factors exist:
    1. 1. University sponsorship (including released time) of a project leading to the discovery or development of materials
    2. 2. Significant use of the University's personnel, facilities, services or equipment (libraries excluded) in the discovery or development process; or
    3. 3. The funding of a project through the University by agencies or persons outside the University.
  4. Non-applicability
    The policy shall not apply when inventions, discoveries or copyrightable materials are developed solely through individual initiative or personal time and not involving significant use of University facilities or services. Non-fee library use is exempted from this policy. Also exempted are scholarly works such as journal articles, chapters in books and books that do not generate income.
  5. Responsibilities
    1. 1. Individuals to whom this policy applies shall promptly disclose to the University discoveries or invention(s) and copyrightable materials for evaluation and action by the Committee on Patents and Copyrights.
    2. 2. The University, acting through its Advisory Committee on Patents and Copyrights, shall (1) act on disclosures with reasonable promptness and good faith and (2) notify the affected person(s) promptly whenever it decides to pursue, abandon or seek commercialization of an invention or copyrightable materials.
    3. 3. It is the responsibility of a student who is employed by outside entities to resolve any conflicts between this policy and provisions of agreements with an employer before beginning any work at the University that may lead to the development of intellectual property.
    4. 4. If a student makes a patentable invention or develops copyrightable materials while in a class that is, or may be subject to the University's ownership in accordance with the Policy on Patents and Copyrights, the student will disclose the patentable invention or copyrightable material to the University. All faculty members teaching courses in which students do work that may lead to patentable inventions or copyrightable material should inform the students of the existence of (1) any relationships between the University and outside organizations or companies that may have a right to any invention and (2) the existence of the Policy on Patents and Copyrights.
  6. Income Sharing
    Income shall be shared, net of the costs of obtaining, licensing, defending and administering patents, trademarks and copyrights. Income sharing should be proportional to the percent of effort of the individual(s) and unit(s) involved.
    1. 1. Inventor(s)' Share of Income - In no case shall an inventor(s)' share of the net income be less than 50 percent for patents and 50 percent for copyrights. Percentages above 50 percent may be recommended by the committee for consideration by the President or the President's designee.
    2. 2. University's Share of Income - The remaining 50 percent of net income shall be shared as follows: 20 percent to the department(s) or unit(s) which sponsored the development of the intellectual property, 10 percent to the origination college(s) and 20 percent to the Patents and Copyrights Account maintained in the Office of Research.
    3. 3. Agreement Relative to Income Sharing - The inventor(s) and unit(s) involved shall have written, signed agreements relative to the distribution of income prior to approaching the committee to pursue a patent or copyright.
  7. License
    Where University sponsorship or significant University resources are involved, the agreement with an individual shall provide the University an exclusive license, and the University shall provide for reservation to the Tennessee Board of Regents a nonexclusive, irrevocable license in the invention, discovery, or copyrightable materials with power to grant licenses for all governmental and educational purposes.
  8. Waiver and Assignment of Rights
    Nothing in this policy shall preclude mutually agreed on contractual arrangements between the University and an individual wherein either party may agree to waive rights to patents, discoveries or copyrightable items. Furthermore, the general obligation of faculty members to produce scholarly and creative works shall not for purposes of this policy be construed as an institutional assignment affecting title claims to inventions, discoveries or copyrightable materials.
  9. Appeals Procedure
    All decisions of the Advisory Committee on Patents and Copyrights may be appealed in the following manner:
    1. Executive Officer of the Patents and Copyrights Committee - Appeals may be directed to the Executive Officer of the committee by communicating in writing the substance of the appeal within thirty (30) days of notification of the committee's decision. The Executive Officer will establish, within ten (10) days of receipt of the appeal, a three-person panel consisting of one member of the committee on Patents and Copyrights and two other faculty or staff members of the University who have a knowledge of patents and copyrights. The Appeals Committee will elect a Chairperson and will review all materials and render a decision within ten (10) days.
    2. Further Appeals - If an individual wishes to appeal further, the policies and procedures of Tennessee Technological University and the Tennessee Board of Regents will be followed.
  10. Definitions
    1. Individuals (Persons)
      1. Faculty - All full-time and part-time employees who hold academic rank and who are directly engaged in departmental instruction, research or public service.
      2. Staff - All full-time and part-time employees who do not hold academic rank.
      3. Students - Full-time and part-time graduate or undergraduate, regardless of whether the student receives financial aid or is employed by Tennessee Technological University.
      4. Consultants - Individuals consulting to the University.
    2. Net Costs - All direct costs of obtaining, licensing, defending and administering patents, trademarks and copyrights.
    3. Copyrightable Materials - Those materials or works which reasonably appear to qualify for protection under the statutes. Copyrightable materials include, but are not limited to: (1) books, texts, glossaries, bibliographies, study guides, laboratory manuals, syllabi, tests and proposals; (2) computer programs; (3) films, filmstrips, charts, transparencies and other visual aids; (4) lectures, musical or dramatic compositions, unpublished scripts; and (5) video or audio tapes, cassettes and (6) student theses and dissertations.
      1. Ownership of a thesis or dissertation generated by research performed in whole or part by a student with financial support in the form of wages, salaries, stipend(s) or grant(s) from funds administered by the University should be determined in accordance with the terms of the support agreement, or in the absence of such terms, will become the property of the University. Copyright ownership of a thesis or dissertation will reside with the University if there is significant use of University personnel, facilities, services or equipment as defined in Section 10.5 (Significant Use).
    4. Patentable Materials - Those innovations, inventions, discoveries or developments which reasonably appear to qualify for protection under the patent laws of the United States or Protection statutes. The United States Code Annotated, Title 35, Section 101, as amended, provides that "whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefore, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title."
    5. Significant Use - Significant use of University personnel, facilities, services or equipment shall be defined to include a cost to the institution in the amount of $2,500 or more (in 2001 dollars). Use of University microcomputers is exempted.


Patents and Copyrights Committee 11/20/97
TTU Administrative Council 1/21/98
Tennessee Board of Regents 3/11/98


Apply Now