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Patents and Copyrights

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Whether part of a sponsored program or not, there are important considerations in protecting your research and discoveries.

It is important to file an invention disclosure through the Office of Innovation and Economic Development’s (OIED) portal prior to any public disclosures (such as posters, abstracts, theses, dissertations, journal articles, etc.). This allows the university can obtain patent protection if appropriate and ensures that any confidential information that is part of sponsored program is not disclosed.


  • Sponsored agreements with federal government agencies and many other sponsors include requirements for the identification, reporting, and management of intellectual property. Failure to report intellectual property can have a negative impact on a principal investigator’s ability to obtain federal grants in the future. Federal sponsors also have certain rights to use intellectual property conceived or developed as part of the sponsored project for research purposes.
  • Principal investigators should review research activities periodically to identify any discoveries or improvements that may have commercial potential. OIED can assist with the review. Inventions should be disclosed through OIED’s disclosure portal. If the intellectual property results in revenues, creators share in those revenues under Ohio State’s Intellectual Property Policy.
  • Many sponsored research contracts, particularly those from industry sponsors, require sponsor review of any manuscripts prior to publication to ensure that the sponsor’s confidential information or inventions are not disclosed. It is important to notify OIED prior to submitting for publication an abstract or manuscript that is subject to a sponsor review requirement.


  • Usually, it is not necessary to include a notice of copyright on project reports and scholarly publications describing project activities and results.
  • Other project-developed works that are protectable by copyright, including computer software and its documentation, should be marked with: Copyright 200x. The Ohio State University Office of Sponsored Programs All Rights Reserved on all copies with the year of the latest revision.
  • If your project reports or scholarly publications contain others’ copyright-protected material, researchers should obtain permission to use that material and follow all conditions provided.
  • In the case of computer software, the terms of any licensing agreement under which it was made available also should be observed.