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Intellectual Property (IP) Policy Updates

Published April 11, 2024, via Research News

This past year, the Committee on Intellectual Property (IP), which included the Faculty Committee on Technology Transfer, reviewed the Intellectual Property Policy to ensure its relevance and applicability to current standards of Intellectual Property management. The committee recommended changes to Provost Wendland and Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs Perlmutter, who approved the edits. The policy was last amended in October 2014. The following summarizes the edits to the Intellectual Property Policy.

  • Section I.2: This section was revised to reference additional titles that the previous version did not expressly reference, including student contractors.
  • Section I.3.b.iv: This section was added to clearly state that the use of office space and basic software does not constitute the use of significant university resources. This change addresses frequently asked questions from industry in relation to faculty consulting activities.
  • Section I.3.b.v: This section was added to provide flexibility in allowing creators to retain ownership of IP. For example, WashU has allowed certain tuition-paying, part-time graduate students to retain ownership of IP. This addition provides a mechanism for schools to reconcile such ownership status with the other terms of WU’s IP policy.
  • Section I.3.d: This section was revised to reflect current research contracting procedures related to publication delays.
  • Section I.3.e: This section was revised to delete language suggesting that the FCTT and Provost (now EVC) could unilaterally change the income distribution formula.
  • Section I.3.f: This section was added to address undergraduate IP matters and to reference a set of internal guidelines.
  • Section I.3.g: This section was added to address IP created by nonemployees and the need to have an appropriate agreement in place with such individuals.
  • Section IV (last paragraph): A new paragraph was added to allow adjustments to the income distribution formula for a particular project / program, provided that such adjustments are communicated to and approved by the impacted researchers.
  • Section V.1: This section was updated to reference a set of internal dispute resolution guidelines.
  • The Institutional official responsible for Intellectual Property was changed from the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the Provost to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs, a change dating back to December 2022.

The revised policy in its entirety can be found here.

We appreciate the university’s commitment to advancing innovation, commercialization, and technology transfer in St. Louis. The committee believes that this is the next step in to continuing to develop into an exemplar of world class research and impactful commercialization with some fruits of that research towards improving humankind.


Mark Lowe, MD PhD
Vice Chancellor for Research
Senior Associate Dean of Research at WashU Medicine
Harvey R. Colten Professor of Pediatric Science
Washington University in St. Louis