Technology Transfer - Coastal Carolina University
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Technology Transfer

Coastal Carolina University encourages participation by faculty, staff and students in scholarly research and creative activities that generate knowledge, support and enhance teaching, and is consistent with its public service mission to contribute to the economic development of South Carolina. While research conducted by the University is aimed primarily at creation, discovery and dissemination of knowledge, rather than profit from commercial application, the University recognizes that public benefit may result from commercial applications of technology developed with University resources. The University seeks, through adoption of these policies and procedures, to balance the interests of the public, the University and respective inventor(s), author(s) or artist(s) in intellectual property arising from activities conducted by employees and students.

Contact the Director of the OSPRS, Stephanie Cassavaugh, at (843)-349-5030 to learn more about the process of transferring technology and innovation from Coastal Carolina University's campus to the general public. 

Revenue Sharing

The University shall share technology transfer revenue that it receives from patents or inventions with the inventors. Specific provisions of grants or contracts may govern rights and revenue distribution regarding inventions crafted in connection with sponsored research; consequently, revenues the University receives from such inventions may be exclusive of payments of royalty shares to sponsors or contractors. Moreover, the University may contract with outside persons or organizations for the obtaining, managing and defending of patents. Any expenses incurred for the services of such persons or organizations, as well as any and all incremental expenses incurred by the University in obtaining and maintaining patents and/or in marketing, licensing and defending patents or licensable inventions, shall be deducted before the University distributes revenues. Applicable laws, regulations or provision of grants or contracts may, however, require that a lesser share be paid to the inventor. In the case of co-inventors, each percentage share described in this paragraph as due a sole inventor shall be subdivided equally among the co-inventors, unless all the co-inventors provide the University a written instrument, signed by each, allocating ownership among them other than in equal shares. In no event shall the share payable to the inventor or inventors in the aggregate by the University be less than 15 percent of the gross royalties received by the University. 

Intellectual Property

Coastal Carolina University is committed to the creation and dissemination of knowledge for the public good. This knowledge, sometimes referred to as intellectual property, often needs to be protected. The University's intellectual property policy, ACAD-106, defines and addresses the rights to intellectual property and the intended or unintended access to such property, as well as ownership, compensation, copyrights and use of revenue derived from such property. All faculty, staff, students and visitors at the University who contribute as inventors or creators in the development of intellectual property, in which the University may have an interest, should review the University's intellectual propert policy and promptly notify the OSPRS of such involvement. 


Copyright is the ownership and control of the intellectual property in original works of authorship. Copyright ownership and the rights thereof are defined by federal law; however, Coastal Carolina University policies effectively grant ownership to certain copyrightable works to individual authors even though federal law would vest ownership in the University. Those determinations have been made by category of copyrightable work and category of author. In general, all material owned by the University shall be protected by notice of copyright in the name of the University.

Ownership of Traditional Works

Ownership belongs to the creator of the work, unless it is a directed work, sponsored work requiring University ownership or a work made for hire described in a written agreement between the work's creator and the University. If the University is to be involved in commercializing a traditional work or non-directed work, the creator shall assign the work to the University under an Assignment Agreement.

  • The Assignment Agreement shall contain provisions outlining the commercialization responsibilities of the University and a mechanism for the sharing of commercial proceeds with the Author.
  • In cases of ownership by the creator of a traditional work or non-directed work, the University shall have a Shop Right in the work.
  • Shop right is an implied license under which the University may use a patented invention created by an employee, who was working within the scope of their employment, using University equipment or inventing at the University's expense.

Examples of Traditional or Non-Directed Works include literary works, musical compositions, journal articles and other scholarly works, and instructional materials, unless any such work is specially ordered or commissioned by the University. If the work involves "exceptional use of institutional resources," ownership belongs to the University. However, upon agreement by the appropriate institutional official or body, the University may release or transfer its rights to the creator, with the University retaining:

  • (a) a Shop Right;
  • (b) the right to require reimbursement from the creator equal to the value of institutional resources used if the work  produces income for the creator; and/or
  • (c) the right to receive royalties in the same proportions as are provided for patent income under these policies if the work produces income for the creator.

The parties may also negotiate for joint ownership of such works, with the approval of the appropriate institutional official.

Ownership of Directed Works

Ownership belongs to the University. The work's creator, where practical, shall be granted a Shop Right. The University may release or transfer its authorship rights to the creator under a written agreement negotiated between the creator and the University, usually with the University retaining:

  • (a) a Shop Right, and/or
  • (b) the right to require reimbursement and/or income sharing from the work's creator to the University if the work produces income for the creator.

The parties may also negotiate for joint ownership of such works, with the approval of the appropriate institutional official or body.

Ownership of Sponsored Works

For a sponsored or externally contracted work developed under an agreement that expressly requires copyright ownership by the University, the creator of the work must disclose the work to the University. Provided there is no conflict with a sponsored agreement, the University may release or transfer its rights to the work's creator under an agreement negotiated between the creator and the University, usually with the University retaining:

  • (a) a Shop Right, and/or
  • (b) the right to require reimbursement and/or income sharing from the work's creator to the University if the work produces income for the creator.

The parties may also negotiate for joint ownership of such works, with the approval of the appropriate institutional official. For a sponsored or externally contracted work created under an agreement that does not expressly require copyright ownership by the University or a third party, the creator of the work shall own the work, subject to disclosure to the University where required under institutional policy. In case of ownership by the work's creator, the University, if practical, shall be assigned a Shop Right.

Income from Copyright Works Not Owned by Coastal Carolina University

Authors and creators of original works in which the University claims no interest may exercise exclusive rights protected by copyright law, register the copyright and receive any revenues which may result there from.

Works in which Coastal Carolina University has an Ownership or Income Interest

Income received by the University through the sale, licensing, leasing or other use of copyrightable material in which the University has an ownership interest will normally be shared with the author. Authorship for this purpose shall be determined by the Provost or such officer's designee. Compensation and division of royalties, if any, will be the same as that provided for patent income under these policies and procedures, unless other terms are negotiated by written agreement prior to commencement of work on the project. In the event that an author contributes a copyrighted work to the University, a written agreement accepting such contribution shall be executed by the President or that officer's designee, and subject to approval and acceptance of The Board of Trustees. In the event that a person otherwise assigns a copyrighted work to the University for value, the terms of the agreement shall include a statement governing the division of royalties or other income between the University and the assignor. 


A patent is an exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor to manufacture, use or sell an invention for a certain number of years. To be patentable, the invention or discovery must have utility, novelty and be non-obvious. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has determined that software which meets certain technical and legal criteria may be patentable. In the event that software originally disclosed as a copyrightable work is subsequently determined to be patentable subject matter, and Coastal Carolina University chooses to seek patent protection for the software, such software shall be managed as patentable intellectual property.

There are three different types of patents:

  • Utility patents are granted to those who discover any new and useful process, machine, manufacture/composition of matter or any new and useful improvement thereof.
  • Design patents are granted to those who invent any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
  • Plant patents are granted to those who invent or discover and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant, including cultivated sports, mutants, hybrids and newly found seedlings, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state.

As provided by University policy, to which these policies and procedures are expressly subject, the University has an ownership interest in all inventions of University personnel that are conceived or first actually reduced to practice as a part of or as a result of University research or other activities involving the use of University facilities, staff or funds administered by the University. The University also may have an interest in inventions under the terms of contracts, grants or other agreements. Faculty, staff and students whose inventions are made on their own time and without University facilities, staff or other resources, and which inventions are, therefore, their exclusive property as specified by policies, may avail themselves of the opportunity to submit the invention to the University for possible patenting and/or commercial exploitation and management under terms to be agreed between the inventor and the University. Patent infringement may result in civil charges leading to the payment of royalties, injunctions and attorney fees.

CCU Innovation Disclosure Form


The term "trademark" includes any word, name, symbol or device, or any combination thereof, used by a person to distinguish his or her goods. Trademarks may not be registered if they possess any of the design characteristics described in 15 USC 1052, such as marks that include scandalous or immoral matter and those that contain the insignia of any state, country or municipality. Reproduction, counterfeiting and imitation of a registered trademark in connection with the sale or advertisement of any goods or services is forbidden and may lead to civil action (15 USC 1114). Registered trademarks must display an indication of registration, such as the ® symbol, or no damages or profits may be recovered (15 USC 1111). In some cases, however, a non-registered trademark, referred to as a "famous mark," may have some protections. Refer to 15 USC 1125 for more information. The United States Patent and Trademark Office accepts applications through its Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Applicants must submit personal information, specifics of the trademark and a fee. Use of a registered trademark may result in the payment of damages, fees and profits to the owner (15 USC 1117).

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