Copyright matters for graduate research students


Copyright ownership in your thesis

Copyright is generally owned by the original author of a work. However, whilst the University’s Intellectual Property Regulations  acknowledge that students own the intellectual property they create, they also specify conditions under which the University may exploit your intellectual property where there is a commercial benefit. The terms include the ways in which the originator of the intellectual property will receive ‘equitable returns’ in such a case.

The University or others may also own student-generated intellectual property where:

  • the University provides resources and services beyond those normally available to students in that discipline;
  • the student was part of a team that created the intellectual property, and the other team members also have a claim;
  • the student has signed over the intellectual property to another party (e.g. under a funding agreement).

If you think your research may have commercial potential, talk to staff in the Research & Development Office – Murdoch University may be prepared to pay for patents, and pay for and arrange to exploit the commercial potential in return for a share in ownership of the intellectual property.

Be aware that, if you think that your work may produce patentable results, you must not disclose the intellectual property, for example by publication or conference presentation. Disclosure prevents the application of a patent.

Remember also to read carefully the terms of ownership, publication, etc in any funding agreement that you are considering accepting; some agencies may require an embargo on your research results.