Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property:  Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents

Intellectual property is one of the University’s valuable assets. Copyrights, trademarks and patents (including know how) are the main types of intellectual property the University seeks to protect through the legal frameworks for registration.

The copyright law is a federal law that protects any original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium such as a writing, photograph, or choreography.  The copyright owner has exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, display, and perform the work. Copyrights may be registered with the United States Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov/). Such registration, however, is not required to have the work protected.  Registration is required for purposes of litigation.  For more information concerning the copyright law, including permitted uses of copyrighted materials in and outside the classroom, please see: library.fiu.edu/copyright

The federal trademark act defines a trademark as “any word, name, symbol, or device or any combination thereof adopted and used . . .  to identify and distinguish . . . goods  . . .  and to indicate the source of the goods . . .” The University’s Trademark Policy may be accessed at http://policies.fiu.edu/files/571.pdf.  Federal trademarks are issued by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), an agency of the United States Department of Commerce.  Trademarks may also be registered with the State of Florida for protection only within the state. Our office advises units of the University interested in filing for trademark protection.   We may be reached via email generalcounsel@fiu.edu or at the telephone number provided below.

A patent is a right granted by the U.S. Constitution which authorizes the patent holder to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for the number of years applicable to the particular patent.  After those years, the patent expires and the invention is dedicated to the public.  The PTO is the governmental office responsible for issuing patents (http://www.uspto.gov/).

The University has adopted an Inventions and Patents policy which applies to non-bargaining unit faculty, staff and students.  This policy may be accessed at http://policies.fiu.edu/files/549.pdf   The Inventions and Works policy applicable to in-unit faculty may be accessed at http://policies.fiu.edu/files/204.pdf

The Office of Technology Management and Commercialization within the Division of Research is responsible for the University’s technology transfer initiatives, including the evaluation and management of inventions, invention disclosures and the overall patenting process for FIU innovations.

Questions concerning patents and copyrights with potential for commercialization or other questions regarding our technology transfer/commercialization efforts should be addressed to that office.  For further information see the Office’s website at http://research.fiu.edu/dor/pages/otmc.html

If you have any questions regarding any of the University’s intellectual property policies, you may contact the University Compliance Office at (305) 348-2216.  If you have any other questions regarding copyright or trademark matters, please contact our office at (305) 348-2103.