2.04 Intellectual Property Policy

I. Policy

Central Piedmont Community College encourages its faculty and staff to be creative and productive in the course of their duties and responsibilities to educate students and operate the institution. Such creativity may, from time-to-time, result in scholarly work or innovations that may be considered intellectual property. The College acknowledges that ownership rights associated with intellectual property requires all faculty, staff, and students to adhere to applicable state and federal laws. Intellectual property is protected by copyright, trademark, and/or patent law. The policy defines and protects ownership rights in Intellectual Property created by all Covered Individuals independently or with the support of the College.

II. Definitions

A. Intellectual Property

All intellectual and creative works that can be copyrighted or patented, including educational materials and products; databases; computer software and materials; research materials; web-based learning; and improvements and inventions. It does not cover traditional scholarly works such as literary, artistic and theatrical works, and lecture notes.

B. Covered Individuals

All faculty, staff, students, and other persons employed or contracted by the College, whether full-time or part-time, acting in the scope of their employment or engagement; all visiting faculty or anyone else using resources or facilities owned by or under the supervision of the College; and all students who are enrolled in the College on a full-time or part-time basis.

C. Significant Use

The use of College-funded or supported resources including, but not limited to, facilities, time, equipment, property, personnel, grant funds, salary supplement, leave with pay, or any other material, human, or financial assistance; the use of specialized or experimental equipment; and/or the use of any College facility that leads to an appreciable expenditure of College funds that would not have otherwise occurred. The use of College Resources is considered Significant when it entails a level of use not ordinarily available to all, or virtually all, faculty, staff, or students. If an employee or student develops Intellectual Property that arises in part or in whole from the Significant Use of College Resources, Central Piedmont will have complete and exclusive ownership of all resulting copyrights and/or patents. However, prior to the development of Intellectual Property, the employee or student who plans to develop the product may enter into an agreement with the College as discussed in III. C: Rights Agreement.

Occasional Use of College-owned computer hardware and software, office or classroom space, or libraries will not ordinarily constitute Significant Use. If a Covered Individual makes, creates, or discovers Intellectual Property that is the same as, directly related to, or substantially similar to a research project in which the Covered Individual is engaged at the College, then Significant Use of College resources is presumed. The Covered Individual may rebut this presumption through submission of documentary evidence which clearly establishes that the Intellectual Property was developed without Significant Use of College resources.

D. College-Supported Works

Intellectual Property created by a Covered Individual which meets any one or more of the following criteria:

  1. The work is a regular part or routine product of the Covered Individual’s employee's job duties or activities; or,
  2. The work is the product of a specific contract made in the course of the Covered Individual’s employment with, engagement by the College; or,
  3. The work constitutes a work for hire, including, but not limited to, reassigned time, grant funds, salary supplement, leave with pay, or other material or financial assistance; or,
  4. The development of the work involves Significant Use of College facilities, time, equipment, property, personnel and/or other resources.

E. Independent Works

Intellectual Property created by a Covered Individual which meets all of the following criteria:

  1. The work is the result of individual initiative; and,
  2. The work is not the product of a specific contract or assignment made as a result of employment with, or engagement by, or attendance at the College; and,
  3. The work is not a work for hire; and,
  4. The work is neither a regular part nor a routine product of the Covered Individual’s duties or activities; and,
  5. The work does not involve Significant Use of College facilities, time, equipment, property, personnel, and/or other resources.

F. Student Works

In the case of students, Intellectual Property produced through individual initiative without the use of Significant Resources as a part of a student’s coursework in a Central Piedmont class for which the student has paid tuition and fees ordinarily belongs to the student. This includes papers, artistic and musical works, and other creative works made by students in the instructional process. In situations when student works are made during the course of employment at Central Piedmont, or Significant Use of College Resources were used, the ownership of such work must be assigned to the College.

III. Ownership Rights

A. Independent Works

Intellectual property rights in Independent Works that meet all of the criteria listed in II.E. belong to the creator of the work. An Independent Work is created by an employee outside the scope of his or her employment or by a student attending the College, but without use of College resources other than resources that are available to the general public.

B. College-Supported Works

Intellectual property rights in College-Supported works that meet at least one of the criteria in II.D., unless otherwise provided in a written rights agreement, belong to the College. The College owns all rights to a copyrightable or patentable work created by the employee or student with Significant Use of College resources. The College, with the permission of the president or designee, retains the option to release or transfer the rights of a College-Supported work to the work’s creator through an appropriate written agreement. The College owns all rights to its trademarks, including all names, acronyms, logos, seals, and other related materials associated with the College.

C. Rights Agreement

A Covered Individual may enter into a written agreement with the College and/or Central Piedmont Community College Services Corporation (Service Corp) for an equitable arrangement for joint ownership, sharing of royalties, or reimbursement to the College and/or Services Corp for its costs and support, which may include publication and distribution of College-Supported Works. In all such cases, the agreement shall provide that the College will have the right to use the work at no cost for its educational purposes.

D. Publication and Disclosure

All Covered Individuals must promptly disclose to the Covered Individual’s supervising administrator/instructor the creation of all Intellectual Property subject to this policy. Such written disclosure, with the administrator’s/instructor’s signature, must occur prior to any public disclosure and publication of patentable discoveries, including software, and of products susceptible to trademark or copyright protection that are suitable for commercial development. Prompt disclosure is necessary in order to assist in the prevention of conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment and to preserve Intellectual Property rights. The College may require the Covered Individual to defer all public disclosure and publication for a period of up to 90 days after informing the College. The disclosure must include the identity of all persons who claim any interest in the development of the disclosed Intellectual Property. Failure to make such a disclosure promptly creates a presumption that such Intellectual Property constitutes College-Supported Works.

E. Grant-Supported Works

Notwithstanding the provisions of this policy, in the case of a work created under a grant accepted by the College, the ownership provisions of the grant shall prevail.

F. Sponsored Work for Hire

In the case of work performed by College staff through the Central Piedmont Services Corp. on a "fee for service" basis to outside agencies, individuals, or businesses, the ownership of all data, written products, and results are the property of the outside agency, individual, or business. Central PiedmontCC will not have the right to review, publish, or distribute confidential information belonging to such entities.

IV. Dispute Resolution

Notwithstanding the grievance process provisions set forth in Policy 1.30 Conflict Resolution and Policy 4.07 Grievance Policy for Students, and notwithstanding anything to the contrary set forth in Policy 1.42 Employee Mediation Program, in the event of a dispute regarding the ownership or use of Intellectual Property which arises between the College and a Covered Individual, the parties shall first endeavor to negotiate the matter between themselves in good faith. If direct negotiations do not resolve the matter, either party may request in writing that the matter be submitted to mediation in accordance with the following procedure:

A. Either the College or the Covered Individual may request mediation by submitting notice, together with any relevant supporting documents, to the other party and to Human Resources. Such supporting documents shall contain, at a minimum, a statement of the issues involved in the dispute, and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all parties that are directly or indirectly involved in the dispute.

B. Human Resources shall arrange for mediation and notify the parties of the arrangements within ten business days following the date on which the notice of demand is received by Human Resources. Such arrangements shall include, at a minimum, the date, time, and place of each mediation session.

C. Human Resources shall select a neutral mediator who is capable of making an independent assessment of and rendering an objective decision with respect to the dispute. Such mediator:

  1. Shall be experienced in intellectual property matters;
  2. May or may not be an employee of the College;
  3. Shall not be a member of the department from which the dispute arises; and,
  4. Shall not be a member of the department for which the Covered Individual provides services.

D. At least ten days prior to the first scheduled mediation session, each party shall provide the mediator with a brief memorandum setting forth its position with regard to the issue that needs to be resolved. At the discretion of the mediator, such memoranda may be mutually exchanged between the parties. At the first session, the parties shall produce all information reasonably required for the mediator to understand the issues presented and to render a fair decision. The mediator may require any party to supplement such information as reasonably necessary from time to time. Additional sessions shall be held as necessary to reach a final resolution, at the times and in the manner prescribed by the mediator.

E. The mediator’s decision shall be a non-binding recommended resolution. The mediator does not have the authority to impose a settlement on the parties, but will attempt to help them reach a satisfactory resolution of their dispute. The mediator is authorized to conduct joint and separate meetings with the parties and to make oral and written recommendations for settlement. Whenever necessary, the mediator may also obtain expert advice concerning technical aspects of the dispute, provided that the parties agree to such action and to share the expenses associated with obtaining such advice. Arrangements for obtaining such advice shall be made by the mediator or the parties, as the mediator shall determine.

F. If the above-described mediation process does not resolve the dispute between the parties within ninety days after the written notice for mediation is delivered, either party may commence litigation proceedings in the state or federal courts, as applicable, located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Notwithstanding the foregoing, either party shall be entitled to seek an injunction, temporary restraining order, or other equitable relief pending final resolution through mediation or litigation of any controversy, dispute, or claim between the parties.

Related Procedures


Changes approved by the Board of Trustees on May 6, 2020

Approved by Cabinet on March 28, 2011