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New policy affects new ideas at MUSC

by Diana Vincent, Ph.D.
Chair, Intellectual Property Committee
Patents. Inventions. Commercialization. Technology Transfer. Copyright. What do all these have to do with you, the employees, students, and visiting professors at MUSC/MUHA? New ideas or intellectual property (IP) are the seeds that grow into commercial products. As part of the MUSC/MUHA community, you are in a creation-rich environment with the MUSC Foundation for Research Development (FRD) available to help you evaluate your IP for potential commercialization and patentability.
In light of the changing environment in the nation and at universities to bring academic research into fuller use by the general populace via technology transfer and commercialization efforts, MUSC Provost John Raymond, M.D., charged the Intellectual Property (IP) Committee to review and revise the IP policy accordingly. The committee is composed of a diverse group of inventors, researchers, clinicians, and chairmen whose collective expertise and experience cover areas vital to discovery and commercialization.
Before describing the process by which the IP policy was revised and approved, you might ask, “Do I need to read this article? Who is affected by the IP Policy?” Yes, you probably need to read both this article and the IP policy. All employees of MUSC and MUHA (faculty, nurses, technicians, administrative assistants, etc), all students, visiting professors, visiting students, and all part-time workers are under the auspices of the IP policy. If you have a new idea that in any way relates to your work or study, it is covered by this policy, and is to be reported to FRD if commercializing it has tangible rewards for you.
The lengthy process of revision began with the IP committee reading the policy and comparing it to comparable institutions. Clear definitions for intellectual property and ownership were drafted. Considerable time was spent on distributions of proceeds and timelines. After a year’s work, a proposed draft was discussed at meetings with the IP committee and the administration. Refinements also were made before submitting the document to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. Steve Lanier, Ph.D., associate provost for research, and Diana Vincent, Ph.D., chair of the IP committee met and corresponded with the executive committee and gave a presentation to faculty senate. After passing votes by the Faculty Executive Committee, the document moved onto the faculty senate. Before coming before the MUSC Board of Trustees, the revised IP policy was voted on and approved by the full faculty, the deans’ council and the president’s council.
On May 15, at the trustees' quarterly meeting, the document passed its final stage of approval. The effective date will be July 1.
Intellectual property with Record of Inventions (ROIs) completed on or after July 1 will fall under this new IP Policy. All current intellectual property and ROIs completed prior to July 1 are grandfathered in under the previous policy.
For further information, an open presentation, “An IP Policy Explanation Seminar,” will be given at noon June 24, in Room 419 of the Clinical Sciences Building. The FRD Web site,, contains links to the IP policy as well as information about their services. Several other links to the policies will be available; the faculty senate Web site,, and the Human Resources, Web sites at

Friday, June 20, 2008
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