UC patent policy

To encourage and assist the UC inventor in the use of the patent system in a manner that is equitable to all parties, UC adopted the University of California Patent Policy (pdf). The major objectives of the policy are:

  • To disseminate new and useful knowledge resulting from university research through the use of the patent system;
  • To license patents to industry in order to promote the development of inventions toward practical application for use by the general public;
  • To provide income for use in supporting further research and education, with a share of the income going to the inventor; and
  • To assure that patent-related obligations to sponsors of research are met.

These objectives form the basis for the policy. It provides that the regents obtain title to inventions or discoveries developed in the course of university employment, or with the use of UC research facilities, or university-controlled funds. UC employees and those using UC facilities or funds under the control of the university agree to promptly disclose the conception or development of potentially patentable inventions to UC and to assign all rights to all such inventions and patents to the university. UC shares royalty income with the inventors.

Patent acknowledgment

UC employees, persons not employed by the university but who use UC research facilities, and persons who receive gift, grant or contract funds through the University are all required to sign the University Patent Acknowledgment (pdf). Visiting scientists who are not employed by UC but who visit the University and use UC funds and facilities are required to sign the University Patent Acknowledgment. The Patent Acknowledgment assigns inventions and patents to UC, except those resulting from permissible consulting activities without use of University facilities. Persons signing the Patent Acknowledgment agree to disclose promptly all potentially patentable inventions to UC.

UC employees who engage in consulting, or in summer or incidental employment, outside the University are advised to consider any proposed agreements with industry carefully to ensure that no conflict exists with the University's Patent Acknowledgment.

Certain individuals are affected by special circumstances and may or may not be required to sign the Patent Acknowledgment. Students are generally not required to sign the University Patent Acknowledgment, but graduate and undergraduate students are required to sign the University Patent Acknowledgment if they are also UC employees or if they participate in an extramurally-supported research project. Contact your campus or laboratory Patent Coordinator or Research Policy Analysis & Coordination (RPAC) for questions about this policy.