Assume the following problem:

A person decides to create software for his thesis. His application turns out to be very profitable.

If he continues creating it, will the University own the intellectual property over the thesis or the application itself?

Will the revenue go to the university instead?

Is there any way the two parties can come up with a contract or agreement? If the person leaves university and doesn't finish his thesis and instead releases his application, will there be any repercussions?


The Person and the University do need to come to an agreement. Universities usually have clear guidelines and arrangements for intellectual property, eg.

In line with UK legislation, the University owns all intellectual property or other materials developed by its employees, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Students are not employees of the University and therefore legally own any intellectual property arising from their research as long as all of the creative intellectual input has been that of the student.

When a researcher is both a student and an employee ownership of intellectual property will normally be determined by whether the intellectual property was created during the researcher’s duties as a member of staff or a student.

University of Leicester (my summary)

What should I do if I think I do have an idea or invention worth protecting?

Have a look at the Research Strategy and Innovation Office website about where to start:

University of Glasgow

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