Auburn University
Auburn University
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Auburn University

Working with Auburn:
Frequently Asked Questions By Inventors

  1. What agreements are needed to exchange research materials between universities/companies?
  2. What agreements are needed to work with a company or university?
  3. Who has the authority to sign agreements on behalf of the University?
  4. All research related agreements, license agreements, MTAs, NDAs, as well as option, teaming, STTR and other related intellectual property agreements must have the signature of the Associate Provost and Vice President for Research. Only this signature can legally bind the University to the aforementioned agreements.

  5. How do grant proposal submissions affect patent rights?
  6. This issue is addressed very well here.

  7. How do I disclose an invention to the University?
  8. How do I get a summary all of my inventions, agreements, patent applications, etc.?
  9. This information can generally be accessed through the OTT Inventor Portal. If you need additional information, please contact us at 4-4977 or

  10. What are the University intellectual property policies?
    • Auburn University Patent Policy (PDF)
    • Auburn University Copyright Policy (PDF)
    • Release of invention rights (PDF)
    • Authorship & Copyright Royalty Agreement (PDF)
  11. How are royalties shared amongst co-inventors?
  12. It is highly preferred that co-inventors agree upon royalty sharing percentages before a license agreement for their invention is executed.  Here is an example of a simple letter agreement between inventors that could suffice:

    Example royalty sharing letter agreement (Word)

    In lieu of such an agreement, the inventors' share of royalty revenues is typically split evenly amongst all co-inventors.  (See patent policy link above for more information on royalty distributions.)

  13. Does the University work with outside inventors?
  14. Auburn University has on occasion worked with outside inventors.  Typically, the most successful partnerships result from inventions that require additional research or inventive steps that Auburn can provide with its available expertise and facilities. One notable example is FoodSource Lures.

  15. What is the University's position regarding:
  16. Consulting

    Faculty and other employees desiring to perform consulting work for outside organizations are required to obtain the prior concurrence in accordance with current University policy.

    Inventions and discoveries made or developed solely in the course of consulting work performed with prior concurrence in accordance with current University policy shall not be considered as having been made or developed in the course of University employment unless otherwise provided in the concurrence or unless a significant use of University facilities is involved, in which case the University will determine the University’s involvement by the following: In order to provide incentive and encouragement to faculty members, other employees and students of the University in pursuing their personal research interests outside the scope of their official duties and responsibilities and not programmed or substantially supported by the University although slight use may be made of University facilities, any resulting invention or development which may be patentable may be submitted to the University for acceptance or rejection, or may be disposed of and handled by the inventors as they desire. However, all personal discoveries or inventions will be reported to the University, regardless of submission for acceptance or rejection by the University for a determination in accordance with this section. Generally, projects conducted by students and faculty or employees as a part of formal instruction or thesis projects are considered personal research and outside the scope of official duties and responsibilities and programming unless such thesis projects are conducted as a part of a contractual research effort or substantially supported by the University.

    Inventions arising from consulting engagements by faculty and other employees not having prior concurrence or approval by the appropriate Vice President and involving substantial use of University facilities will be governed as follows, notwithstanding any agreement between the consultant and his client: The patent rights to inventions and developments resulting from research or other activities conducted by faculty, other employees or students within the field of their official duties and responsibilities or programmed or substantially supported by the University are retained by the University. Disposition of patent rights is handled by the University. However, the faculty members, other employees and/or students, who are the inventors of record may participate in the income from discoveries and inventions on which patents are obtained.

    Students working with faculty on consulting projects are governed by this same policy.


    Auburn University cannot give up the right of our faculty to publish. Our standard position is as follows: Auburn’s Investigators shall have the right to publish or otherwise publicly disclose information gained in the course of the research provided that copies of all materials to be published will be submitted to Sponsor for review sixty (60) days prior to being submitted to publication. Fair consideration shall be given to Sponsor’s comments; however, Auburn shall have the right to the final decision. Any and all proprietary information of Sponsor will be excluded from publication. In order to permit Sponsor an opportunity to determine if a patentable invention is disclosed, the Principal Investigator will provide Sponsor with drafts of intended articles, whenever possible as soon as they reach a stage suitable for distribution.  Sponsor shall inform Auburn and the author(s) within thirty (30) days so as not to delay publication whether in its judgment the material contains information on which patent applications may or should be filed. If Sponsor wishes to file a patent application, Sponsor may request that publication be delayed for an additional thirty (30) days.