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NTEU Intellectual Property FAQ

Posted 19 November 2010 by Jen T. Kwok (NTEU National Office)

Since UWA vs Gray, the certainty some universities assumed about the common law ownership of various kinds of IP produced by university staff and students has been significantly changed.

This represents an issue of immense significance to the nature of employment for university staff all across Australia.

NTEU has prepared an FAQ about the intellectual property rights (IPR) of university staff and students. It can be accessed here. We welcome any posts, comments, further questions and/or feedback.


  1. Jen Kwok said on 11:30 Thursday 6 Jan, 2011

    [ +2 ] Thanks for the question Byron.

    Much would turn upon what you meant by 'modified' - whether in another employer-employee context those modifications could be interpreted as the creation of intellectual property.

    Instead of speculating on questions of law, the best starting point would be to look at your university's IP policy and identify your university's relevant university contact person. This might be the DVC - Research. It might be a designated Intellectual Property Officer. It may be a commercialisation division or entity within or owned by the university. You could then ask them directly what the university's policy was.

    You should be able to expect that they can explain the university's policy in detail. If you were dissatisfied with their answer, you could run further questions by us.

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  2. Byron said on 14:01 Thursday 16 Dec, 2010

    [ +1 ] Thanks for the FAQ. My interest in this topic is how the University would handle "ownership" of open-source code that has been modified by myself (a non-academic staff member) specifically for the university.

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