Information for Industry Partners

Customized Industry IP Policy

Penn State has developed a menu of options to service a wide variety of industry needs. If a company is interested in securing access to project IP, Penn State may provide an up-front royalty-free non-exclusive right to utilize IP for commercial purposes, along with an option to negotiate exclusive rights. Penn State also may offer an up-front exclusive license for commercial purposes, subject to a pre-negotiated royalty or fee. By law, special rules must be followed for Federal or State flow-through funds. For the complete scope of Penn State's position on IP, please visit the Senior Vice President for Research's website.

Many research services for which the Materials Research Institute’s core facilities are uniquely qualified to perform can be agreed to with an Academic Research Services Order Agreement (ARSO). The ARSO is the standard usage agreement required by Penn State for all external core facility customers. It outlines the Total Estimated Cost and Performance Period of your project, and is brief but comprehensive, covering all necessary legal elements.

For the complete scope of Penn State's position on IP, please visit the Penn State Research's website.

Penn State Research Website

Technologies available for licensing

The Office of Technology Transfer has descriptions of over 650 technologies that have been patented through The Penn State Research Foundation. Search technologies using the Invent Penn State Intellectual Property Navigator.

Information for Penn State Researchers

Overview of Penn State policies and guidelines for intellectual property

Intellectual Property (IP) is a legal concept which refers to creations of the mind for which exclusive rights are recognized. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Common types of intellectual property rights include patents, copyrights, trademarks, know-how, and trade secrets. Some examples of intellectual property falling within these categories include inventions, new methods, materials, and systems, confidential information, software of all types, research materials including biological samples, databases, algorithms, models, instructional materials, and assessments tools.

Who owns what you create?

Ownership of intellectual property created at Penn State can depend upon a variety of circumstances. In general, most employees of the university sign an intellectual property agreement (“IPA”) that provides the university with ownership of most research related IP created by employees. Generally, the University owns inventions made by its employees while acting within their employment or using University resources. This is necessary to ensure the university can comply with its obligations to federal and other sponsors and is a requirement of federal regulations for Penn State to receive federal funding. Non-employee students that have not signed an IPA will most likely own any IP that they create. There are various additional factors that may be considered, and any ownership determination is situation specific. Please consult the university’s IP policies and/or the Office of Technology Transfer for more assistance.