Research and Sponsored Programs - 2018

Intellectual Property

Current policies regarding copyright and intellectual property are provided below as reference. 


Invention Disclosure

The Bayh-Dole Act requires universities to report inventions resulting from federally funded projects. Inventors are advised to promptly disclose to the University all patentable discoveries or inventions conceived of, improved upon or reduced to practice while employed by or under contract with the University, whether or not in the performance of their regular duties or special assignments. Invention disclosure is most important for clarifying the rights of both the inventor and the University. 

A formal invention disclosure may be made by submitting the CSUN Invention Disclosure Form to the Research and Sponsored Programs office (RSP).  

The Disclosure Form will identify the Inventor(s), the current state of the invention, any funding that supported the discovery, any sponsoring agency(s), any CSUN or auxiliary resources used, any public disclosures, and commercial potential of the invention. Questions should be directed to Sherrie Hixon.


Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. An original work of authorship is a work that is independently created by a human author and possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity. A work is "fixed" when it is captured (either by or under the authority of an author) in a sufficiently permanent medium such that the work can be perceived, reproduced, or communicated for more than a short time (United States Copyright Office, Circular 1). 

Copyrightable works include: literary works; musical works; dramatic works; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and, architectural works. Copyright protection in the United States exists automatically from the moment the original work of authorship is fixed. Works made for hire are an important exception to the general rule for claiming copyright. Questions regarding copyright should be directed to Sherrie Hixon.

Patent Process

Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) is responsible for receiving and managing invention disclosures. RSP will convene the University Copyright and Patent Committee (UCPC) in order to: 

  • Review disclosures of discovery or invention submitted to RSP
  • Determine ownership of rights to the disclosed discovery or invention
  • Formulate a recommendation regarding the University's interest in pursuing patent protection and/or commercialization of the invention
  • Notify the inventor(s) of any decision to retain or release ownership rights to the invention

Questions about the patent process should be directed to Sherrie Hixon.

Material Transfer Agreements

Materials Transfer Agreements (MTAs) must be used whenever the University / TUC provides or receives tangible materials to or from an outside source. An MTA is a legal contract that governs the transfer of materials to and from the University, and protects the supplier by restricting use of the materials to academic research. It can also prevent commercial exploitation of the material, control release of the materials to a third party, and ensure appropriate acknowledgement in publications. Materials may include cultures, cell lines, proteins, bacteria, transgenic animals, nucleotides, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals.

Common MTAs will define the following information:

  • The material that is being provided to the recipient
  • How the material will be used and disposed of by the recipient
  • Ownership of the material provided to the recipient

Additional important issues to be negotiated include intellectual property rights, indemnity clauses, and the handling of modified or hazardous materials. 

Sample MTAs are available to view in this Box folder.

Most universities and organizations require that an MTA be in place between the supplier and the recipient prior to releasing or receiving any materials. Contact RSP for more details.

University Copyright & Patent Committee

Committee Members

Sherrie HixonResearch & Sponsored Programs
Karen StoreyResearch & Sponsored Programs
Colin DonahueAdministration & Finance
Rick EvansThe University Corporation
Tim TiemannCSUN Incubator
Karin CrowhurstChemistry & Biochemistry