IV.H. Intellectual Property

IV.H.1.1. Intellectual Property Policy

Lone Star College recognizes that an engaged and creative faculty, staff, and students are essential to the mission of the College and to the pursuit of knowledge. Lone Star College supports the goals of facilitating the development and dissemination of intellectual property to society and providing financial rewards to creators and to the College. This policy balances protecting public funds and equitably recognizing technological, scientific, and academic advancements. Employees, students, and third parties should use this policy along with the College’s procedures, forms, and applicable agreements as a guide to default intellectual property rules.

IV.H.1.2. Definitions

(a) Committee means the Intellectual Property Advisory Committee of Lone Star College, comprised of the faculty senate presidents and the Chancellor’s Chief of Staff. The Committee’s Chair will be the longest serving faculty member on the committee. The Committee will review intellectual property policies on a regular basis, recommend dispute resolutions to the Chancellor, and make necessary recommendations for reform. The Chancellor reserves final authority as to whether to accept or reject the Committee’s recommendations.

(b) Copyright means the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, display, perform, or create derivative copyrightable works. The term “copyright” and “patent” are not interchangeable; they are distinct legal protections for specific works.

(c) Copyrightable Work means an original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which it can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories: literary works, musical works, dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, motion pictures and other audio visual works, sound recordings, and architectural works.

(d) Creator means any person(s) who creates intellectual property.

(e) Intellectual Property means products of the human intellect, in a concrete or abstract form, such as copyrightable works, patentable works, protectable trademark or service marks, or trade secrets.

(f) Patent means a limited duration property right relating to patentable work granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office that provides the right to exclude others from using, making, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patentable work.

(g) Patentable Work means any invention or discovery of any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. 

(h) Service mark means a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods.

(i) Software means a sequence of instructions by which a computer accepts and translates input symbols, executes actions, and outputs symbols. It includes, but is not limited to, system functional design, logic flow, algorithms, application programs, and operating systems.  

(j) Substantial Use means extensive unreimbursed use of College facilities, laboratories, computational facilities, or human resources, which were important to the creation of the intellectual property. Mere incidental use of a facility does not constitute Substantial Use. For example, mere incidental use of facilities available to all faculty, such as a library or offices, is not Substantial Use.

(k) Trademark means a word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

(l) Traditional Academic Copyrightable Work means faculty-created copyrightable work related to the faculty member’s field of study. This includes scholarly articles, textbooks, syllabi, and other copyrightable work.

(m) Trade secret means the whole or any part of any scientific or technical information, design, process, procedure, formula, or improvement that has value and that the owner has taken measures to prevent from becoming available to persons other than those selected by the owner to have access for limited purposes. 

IV.H.1.3. Disclosure and Institutional Review

All individuals who create potentially College-owned intellectual property must submit a timely disclosure form to the Office of the General Counsel. The Office of the General Counsel will review rights and obligations, evaluate commercial significance, determine if the College has an ownership interest, decide whether to seek legal protection, and identify other issues that may arise from disclosure. The Office of the General Counsel will inform the individual of the disclosure review outcome within a reasonable time. The College may then enter into agreements with the individual regarding rights, benefits, or obligations. An individual cannot proceed with any outside disclosure, commercialization, or publication until the Office of the General Counsel concludes its review.

IV.H.1.4. Applicability

This policy applies to College employees and all individuals, including students, using College resources. This policy is a condition of College employment, course enrollment, and using College facilities, equipment, funds, or any other College resources.

IV.H.1.5. Intellectual Property Default Ownership

Lone Star College recognizes the traditional rights of scholars with respect to the products of their intellectual endeavors. Default ownership therefore accounts for faculty exceptions, outlined in Section IV.H.1.6., that seek to advance the mission of the College. Unless these Faculty Exceptions apply, or a written agreement states otherwise, the College owns intellectual property created by employees, students, and third parties if:

  1. An employee creates intellectual property within the employee’s scope of employment or with Substantial Use of College facilities, equipment, funds, or any other College resource.  Employees, however, retain rights to intellectual property created outside the scope of employment and created with no more than incidental use of College resources, funds, equipment, supplies or facilities. Faculty members are presumed not to be hired to produce a particular intellectual property.
  1. A student creates intellectual property while using College resources for which the student is not considered to have paid tuition and fees.
  1. A third party creates intellectual property while using College facilities, equipment, funds, or any other College resource. Third party includes, but is not limited to, campus visitors and non-employees.   

When individuals in different categories co-create intellectual property, the College will decide ownership interests based on College resources used and the co-creators’ status. College employees and other applicable individuals must assign, and hereby do assign, title to the College to any intellectual property subject to this section. These individuals also agree to execute any required documents.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

IV.H.1.6. Faculty Exceptions

Copyrightable Work Exception. The College recognizes faculty members create copyrightable works that are valuable to academic advancement. The College, therefore, will not assert ownership of faculty-created Traditional Academic Copyrightable Work, even when created within a faculty member’s scope of employment or while using College resources. This copyrightable work exception does not apply to faculty-created patentable works, software, trademarks, service marks, or trade secrets. The College will, however, retain a non-transferrable right to royalty-free use of the faculty member’s traditional academic copyrightable work for educational purposes.

Patentable Work Exception. Faculty members retain a vital interest in directing and controlling their own research and decisions about marketing, managing, and disseminating their patentable work. Such work will be owned by its inventors but the patent rights will be transferred and assigned to the College.

IV.H.1.7. College Licensing Guidelines

The College will establish guidelines for licensing, sale, lease, transfer, or any other ownership interest change of its intellectual property. These guidelines will be published in the College’s procedures.

IV.H.1.8. Royalty, Equity, Benefits, and Business Management Participation

The College may receive royalty payments, licensing fees, equity interests, management rights, or other benefits. The College may distribute, where applicable, a fair benefits share to the individual who originated the intellectual property in a manner that honors effort and time. The College and individual, where applicable, will enter into an agreement regarding fair benefits distribution, after the disclosure and institutional review process concludes. The College may also allow the individual to participate and hold equity in any businesses utilizing the College’s intellectual property.

IV.H.1.9. Procedures

The College will develop and publish procedures to effectuate this policy. 


LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on May 5, 2016

IV.H.2.   Copyright

IV.H.2.1. Compliance with Requirements of the U.S. Copyright Act

All members of the System community, including faculty, staff, students, and volunteers, must become knowledgeable about and take action to respect the legal rights of copyright owners, and refrain from actions that constitute an infringement of copyright or other proprietary rights.

Therefore, LSCS employees may not copy, distribute, sell, reproduce or revise, copyright protected materials unless the use is specifically permitted by:

a.   The U.S. Copyright Act;

b.   Fair use guidelines issued interpreting the requirements of the law;

c.   Express terms of licenses or contractual agreements; or

d.   Written permission of the copyright owner.

IV.H.2.2. Infringing Materials on LSCS Website

As an Internet Service Provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, LSCS designates the Vice Chancellor of Information Technology or his or her designee to serve as the System's agent for purpose of receiving and investigating any notice of claimed infringement on any websites maintained by the System.

Upon receiving notification that a copyright owner believes that his or her copyright-protected information has been reproduced on any website maintained by LSCS, the designated agent shall promptly remove the item from the website and investigate whether the alleged infringement occurred.

LSCS will take prompt disciplinary action, up to and including discharge of an employee who places information on a website in violation of the U.S Copyright Act.

IV.H.2.3. Fair Use

LSCS authorizes its faculty and others engaged in teaching, research, and service activities to utilize copyright-protected materials in accordance with the Fair Use exception as set forth in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act. To facilitate the use of copyrighted materials under this exception, the System will:

a.   Inform and educate its faculty, librarians, and staff about what uses, are permitted;

b.   Develop and make available through the office of the General Counsel guidance regarding the reach and limits of this exception; and

c.   Assist in securing permission from copyright holders.

Faculty, staff, and other employees, who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy, place themselves individually at risk of legal action. In such cases, the System may refuse to defend the employee named in the court suit and in these suits the employee may incur personal liability.

IV.H.2.4. Reproduction or Distribution of Information

As part of meeting LSCS’s commitment to provide specialized services related to the training, education, or adaptive reading or information access needs of blind or other persons with disabilities, LSCS authorizes its employees to reproduce or distribute copies or phonorecords of previous published non-dramatic works in specialized formats, exclusively for use by the blind or other persons with disabilities. Any such copies or phonorecords are to bear a notice that any further reproduction or distribution in a different format is an infringement, and identifies the copyright owner and the date of original publication.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on February 1, 2018

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