Students' Intellectual Property
This information contains instructions for anyone having responsibility for a course at MSU during which students (e.g., undergraduate and/or graduate level) will be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement (“NDA”) or an assignment of intellectual property rights (“IP Assignment”).
Instructors may engage an outside individual, small business, or corporation (a “Sponsor”) to present or support a project for educational purposes and as part of a course. The Sponsor may require each participating student to sign an NDA to protect its proprietary or confidential information and/or an IP Assignment so that the Sponsor may secure rights to incorporate the students’ contributions into a product or service of Sponsor. Under the provisions of MSU’s Patent Policy and its Policy on the Development of Copyrightable Materials, with few exceptions, students own the intellectual property they create to meet course requirements.
- In any teaching situation involving a request that students sign an agreement, transparency is highly important to MSU.
- Faculty should notify student prior to the start of the semester that students will be asked to sign an NDA or IP Assignments.
- Students should be presented options and allowed to decide whether to sign an agreement and should be given an opportunity to consult with a trusted person prior to a deadline for delivering a signed agreement.
- Faculty should provide, and students should be informed of, an alternate activity or project that does not require the student to sign an agreement.
- There must be no negative consequence if a student declines a request to sign an NDA or IP Assignment. A student’s grade or progress toward a degree should not be impacted by a student’s decision.
Course instructors should review the Faculty Requirements for NDAs or IP Assignments memo for detailed instructions. Students should be provided the Transparency and Options memo for NDAs/ IP Assignments before they make their decision.
If after reviewing these standard agreements, a corporate partner wants to speak with MSU about using alternative agreements, have them contact the MSU Innovation Center, via Charles Hasemann firstname.lastname@example.org or Richard Chylla, email@example.com.