Intellectual Property Rights Policy

This policy is meant to encourage and support faculty, staff, and student research; to protect the rights and interests of university constituents as well as the university itself; and to provide university constituents with information that will guide understanding of intellectual property and its application at Trevecca Nazarene University. All full-time or part-time faculty, administrators, and staff, student employees, and students, as well as non-employees who participate or intend to participate in teaching and/or research or scholarship projects at Trevecca Nazarene University are bound by this policy.

Trevecca Nazarene University is committed to complying with all applicable laws regarding copyright and other forms of intellectual property. Furthermore, this policy shall not be interpreted to limit the university's ability to meet its obligations for deliverables under any contract, grant, or other arrangement with third parties, including sponsored research agreements, license agreements, and the like.

Questions of ownership, compensation, or other materials covered by this policy shall be resolved by the Executive Vice President (or his/her designee) in consultation with the University Provost and others, as appropriate.



General Copyright Policy

Trevecca Nazarene University's policy is that all rights in copyright remain with the creator unless the work is a "work for hire," is commissioned by the university, or is otherwise subject to contractual obligations.

Definition and Scope of Copyright Protection

Under the federal copyright law, copyright subsists in "original works of authorship" that have been fixed in any tangible medium of expression from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. These works include:

  1. literary works such as books, journal articles, poems, manuals, memoranda, tests, computer programs, instructional material, databases, and bibliographies;
  2. musical works, including any accompanying words;
  3. dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
  4. pantomimes and choreographic works (if fixed, as in notation or videotape);
  5. pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, including photographs, diagrams, and sketches;
  6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works, such as videotapes;
  7. sound recordings; and
  8. architectural works.

Scope of Copyright Protection

Subject to various exceptions and limitations provided for in the copyright law, the copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce the work, prepare derivative works, distribute copies by sale or otherwise, and display or perform the work publicly. Ownership of copyright is distinct from the ownership of any material object in which the work may be embodied.

Books, Articles, and Similar Works, Including Unpatentable Software

In accord with academic tradition, except to the extent required by the terms of funding agreements, Trevecca Nazarene University does not claim ownership to pedagogical, scholarly, or artistic works, regardless of their form of expression. Such works include those of students created in the course of their education, such as papers, theses, and articles. The university claims no ownership of popular nonfiction, novels, poems, musical compositions, unpatentable software, or other works of artistic imagination that are not institutional works (see below under “Work for Hire"). Copyright in pedagogical, scholarly, or artistic works to which the university disclaims ownership under this policy shall be held by the creators regardless of whether the work constitutes a "work for hire" under copyright law.

Ownership and Use of Course Materials (including class technology and videotapes of classroom activities)

All course materials, such as syllabi, videotapes of classroom activities, websites, and such, developed by a Trevecca Nazarene faculty member belong to the faculty member unless grant or other outside funding sources dictate otherwise. Faculty ownership of such course materials does not, however, entitle the faculty member to any additional compensation from the university as a result of appropriately enrolled students' use of such materials. Faculty ownership of such course materials also does not preclude the university from using such materials for internal instructional, educational, and administrative purposes, including satisfying requests of accreditation agencies for faculty-authored syllabi and course descriptions. Materials brought to Trevecca from other institutions are bound by any ownership constraints from the institution at which they were developed; barring none, they belong to the faculty member.

The use of images or materials of students for use outside of a currently enrolled class is not permitted without a signed release from students. This includes videotaping, website images, and class materials where the expectation of a student is that their purpose is for that particular course. If the purpose of the class is to create a website, video or other materials for future courses, this permission is not needed.

"Work for Hire"

"Work for hire" is a legal term defined in the Copyright Act as "a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment." For instance, work assigned to programmers is "work for hire" as defined by law, as is software developed for university purposes by students and staff working collaboratively. This definition includes works prepared by employees in satisfaction of sponsored agreements between the university and outside agencies. Certain commissioned works also are works for hire if the parties so agree in writing. The mere fact that multiple individuals have contributed to the creation of a work shall not cause the work to constitute an institutional work. Where a work is jointly developed by university faculty or staff or student employees and a non-university third-party, the copyright in the resulting work typically will be owned jointly by the university and the third party. In such instances, both the university and the other party would have nonexclusive rights to the work, subject to the duty to account to each other.

The university shall retain ownership of works created as institutional rather than personal efforts—that is, works created by administrators and staff for university purposes in the course of the creators' employment, university-commissioned faculty work, or works resulting from simultaneous or sequential contributions over time by numerous faculty, staff, and/or students. The employer (i.e., the university) by law is the "author," and hence the owner, of works for hire for copyright purposes; therefore, Trevecca Nazarene University owns all rights, intellectual and financial, in such works. Administrators, faculty, and staff who gain professional expertise through such work, however, may engage in professional activities (conferences, consulting, and such) that may result in compensation.

Works of Non-employees

Under the Copyright Act, works of non-employees such as consultants, independent contractors, and such generally are owned by the creator and not by the university, unless there is a written agreement to the contrary. As it is the university’s policy that the university shall retain ownership of such works (created as institutional rather than personal efforts, as described in "Work for Hire"), Trevecca will generally require a written agreement from non-employees that ownership of such works will be assigned to the university. Examples of works that the university may retain from non-employees are reports by consultants or subcontractors, computer software, architectural or engineering drawings, illustrations or designs, and artistic works.

Use of Copyrighted Material

Trevecca Nazarene University is committed to complying with all applicable copyright laws; consequently, students and employees are expected to comply with these laws. Distribution of materials protected by copyright without permission of the copyright owner may be a violation of federal or state law. It is the responsibility of those reproducing materials to make sure the reproduction is consistent with U.S. Copyright Law (

Trevecca Nazarene University does not permit the unlawful reproduction or distribution of commercially copyrighted music, movies, and software. The university is committed to taking reasonable steps to avoid misuse of its computer network. If violations are discovered or suspected, university personnel may report infringement to appropriate authorities or take other action, including, but not limited to warning the user, removing the material, or terminating access to the material.

Use of the University Name in Copyright Notices

The following notice should be placed on university-owned materials:

Copyright © [year] Trevecca Nazarene University. All Rights Reserved.

No other institutional or departmental name is to be used in the copyright notice, although the name and address of the department to which readers can direct inquiries may be listed. The date in the notice should be the year in which the work is first published, i.e. distributed to the public or any sizable audience.

Additionally, works may be registered with the United States Copyright Office using its official forms (

Reconveyance of Copyright to Creator

When copyright is assigned to Trevecca Nazarene University because of the provisions of this policy, the creator of the copyrighted material may make a request to the executive vice president that ownership be reconveyed back to the creator. Such a request can, at the discretion of the executive vice president, be granted if it does not: (1) violate any legal obligations of or to the university, (2) limit appropriate university uses of the materials, (3) create a real or potential conflict of interest for the creator, or (4) otherwise conflict with university goals or principles.


Trevecca Nazarene University is an educational institution whose fundamental mission is to provide outstanding higher educational programs. The university recognizes that research, particularly that involving collaborative investigations with students and faculty, is a significant component of the educational process.

All potentially patentable ideas and inventions developed in whole or in part by university personnel in the course of their employment, or with more than incidental use of Trevecca Nazarene University resources, shall be disclosed in writing to the executive vice president. Written disclosure should include the (1) name of the inventor, (2) what was invented, (3) circumstances that led to the invention, and (4) the information as to what might be subsequent activities surrounding the invention. The Executive Team will then review the invention disclosure information submitted to decide if the university should seek a patent using university funds or to decline further action. If the university refuses to pursue application of the idea/invention, the inventor may then seek other aid outside the university to assess the patentability of the invention. If no action is taken, all patent rights revert to the inventor.

If there is positive action on an application, the university may wish to pursue evaluation of the invention from technical development consultants to ascertain whether there is sufficient interest and financial return that would make the acquisition of a patent feasible.

The remaining steps in the process are:

  1. A patent is obtained or institutional steps are put into place to protect the invention as a trade secret. These steps may ensure that, in the event of not immediately applying for a patent, proper protection is maintained and limited disclosure and publication are delayed to a later date.
  2. A patent, if any, is licensed and royalties are earned.
  3. Legal enforcement of patent rights begins.

Sharing of Royalties

Royalty distribution will be as follows. First, 100 % will accrue to the university for recovery of costs associated with the patent/license development. This would include all fees for preparing and prosecuting patents. All marketing and licensing fees would also be included. Second, the remaining income would be distributed between the university (60% of gross royalties) and the inventor(s) or their heirs (40% of gross royalties). Under certain conditions, the university may agree to accept a negotiated percentage of equity in place of all or some portion of the license or royalty fee(s).


Trade and service marks are distinctive words or graphic symbols identifying the original source of goods or services. Trade or service marks relating to goods or services distributed by the university shall be owned by the university. Examples include names and symbols used in conjunction with the university wordmark and logo and those names or symbols associated with university athletics, events, programs, software, or activities.