The Fine Print: Policy C3.0
by Nathan J. Lichtenstein | published May. 5th, 2014
The RIT community has a very innovative and creative mindset that harbors the free flow of ideas. RIT Governance Policy C3.0, Intellectual Property Policy, navigates the tumultuous waters of intellectual property (IP). Fortunately for RIT students, policy C3.0 has their best interest in mind regarding possession of IP rights.
There a few important things students should know about how RIT’s IP policy affects them. For starters, RIT doesn’t use C3.0 as a cookie cutter policy, as the policy states “…this Policy cannot and should not be mechanically applied to every situation that may arise.” With a subject as murky as intellectual property special situations are bound to arise. Addressing the potential for special situations and acknowledging the need for a case-by-case interpreting is very forward-thinking on RIT’s part. It provides an assurance that all situations will be handled fairly and all sides of the case are explored.
Additionally, according to Bill Bond, director of RIT’s Intellectual Property Management Office, “If the student is going in there and doing this work for a course for which he receives a grade, all of the work is the student’s. The student owns it all.” Bond further explained that if students are paid for their work, the circumstances change; because they are being paid to create the IP it is the property of RIT or the party specified in a Research Agreement.
If a product is created and is indisputably the property of RIT, the inventor of this product is called the Assigning Creator; this is the person who has signed all IP rights over to the Institute. RIT has provisions in place for distribution of financial gain from the sale or licensing of the product. The first $10,000 of revenue, minus fees, goes directly to the Assigning Creator.
All revenue made after the $10,000 mark is distributed between the Assigning Creator (50 percent), the Assigning Creator’s home department (15 percent), the Assigning Creator’s College Dean/Divisional Vice President (10 percent), and RIT’s Central Administration (25 percent). Bond was able to provide insight on RIT’s IP profit distribution compared to other universities: “We have the most liberal distribution of income of almost all universities,” he said. “I think ours is at pretty much the top, some of them may start at 50 percent but then they drop off as it goes higher in terms of revenue.”
Policy C3.0 provides an even balance of benefits for creators of intellectual property and the institute. It is important that students know that intellectual property they create as part of their course work is protected. Policies like C3.0 are dense and full of legal jargon that can seem baffling. However upon closer inspection, and a plain English explanation, C3.0 is neither intimidating nor confusing. It is in place for both the protection of the institute and its students ultimately making RIT a fantastic place to learn and create.