Policy for intellectual property rights - IPR

See also: Intellectual property rights - IPR | Guidelines for intellectual property rights - IPR | Pages labeled with IPR

Norsk versjon - Politikk for immaterielle rettigheter - IPR

Policy for the protection and management of intellectual property rights (IPR) and physical material and results generated at NTNU.

  • Type of document: Policy
  • Document manager: Pro-Rector for Innovation
  • Document owner: Rector
  • In effect from (or period): 1 January 2021
  • Reference to governing documents
  • Archive reference: 2019/37923

1. Purpose

This document sets out NTNU’s policy for the protection and management of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Physical Material and Results generated at NTNU. The document describes whom and what the policy covers, its purpose and how to comply with it.

2. Scope

NTNU’s policy for the protection and management of IPR and Physical Material and Results generated at NTNU applies to all employees (all positions, including adjunct (“II”) positions), independent contractors, students, visiting scholars and visiting students at NTNU.

3. Definitions

Employee: A person who has entered into a contract of employment with NTNU.

Visiting Scholar: A person who by agreement conducts research and/or teaching at NTNU, without being an employee or an independent contractor.

Visiting Student: A person who is registered as a student at another educational institution and who by agreement takes part in research and/or teaching at NTNU.

Creator: The person or persons who generate a result.

Independent contractor: A natural or legal person who by agreement performs work or provides a service to NTNU on commercial terms, without being an employee or a visiting scholar.

Student: A person who has paid semester tuition fees and who is registered as a student at NTNU and who does not have an employment relationship with NTNU.

Third party: A natural or legal person who is not subject to the IPR policy.

Data: Any physical representation of details, knowledge, opinions, etc., as opposed to the content, which is called information. The representation may consist of text, of sound, light or electrical signals, in sequences and combinations of numbers, patterns or letters, etc.

Physical Material: Any product (organic, inorganic and biological material), including substances, organisms and crops, as well as materials.

Results: All results that are created or are achieved in connection with a project, work, etc., including intellectual property rights, irrespective of whether the results are protected by law or not.

Intellectual property:

Intellectual property, creations of the mind; such as a literary work, a film, a piece of music or a work of art.

The Copyright Act (åndsverkloven) lists the following works as intellectual property:

  • a) writings of all kinds, including fiction and non-fiction
  • b) oral lectures
  • c) works for stage performance, dramatic and musical as well as choreographic and pantomimic; also radio plays
  • d) musical works, with or without words
  • e) cinematographic works
  • f) photographic works
  • g) paintings, drawings, graphic and similar pictorial works
  • h) sculpture of all kinds
  • i) architectural works, drawings and models as well as the building itself
  • j) pictorial woven tissues and articles of artistic handicraft and applied art, the prototype as well as the work itself
  • k) maps, also drawings and graphic and plastic representations or portrayals of a scientific or technical nature
  • l) computer programs
  • m) translations and adaptations of the above-mentioned works.

Open science: Principles for increased openness at all stages of the research process.

Intellectual property (IP): Things created by the mind. These may include inventions, trademarks, designs, production processes, methods, databases, research data, various types of creative work, know-how and trade secrets. Report No. 28 to the Storting (2012-2013) (PDF).

Intellectual property rights (IPR): Intellectual Property Rights. All rights to technical solutions, methods, processes and procedures, regardless of whether or not these are or may be patented, as well as all copyrights and rights to trademarks, designs, plant varieties, databases, integrated circuit layout designs, drawings, specifications, prototypes, trade secrets and the like.

Moral rights: The right of the creator/author to be named in the manner required by proper usage, as well as the author’s right to object to the work being altered or made available in a way or in a context that is prejudicial to his/her literary, academic or artistic reputation or individuality, or to the reputation or individuality of the work.

Learning resources: All forms of material used for teaching purposes. Examples include academic literature, musical works, works of art, video, software and presentations, as well as their performance and dissemination.

Grant-funded research (bidragsforskning): Research projects where NTNU receives funding from external partners without requirements for deliverables (without consideration) in connection with entry into the agreement/contract (Sponsored and commission-based activity - BOA).

For a more detailed definition of grant-funded research, see the Government’s Examples of classification and management of sponsored and commission-based activity (BOA).

Contract research: Research projects that NTNU undertakes in exchange for full consideration (payment) from one or more external commissioning parties, with a claim for deliveries (with counter-performance) through entry into an agreement/a contract. For a more detailed definition of contract research, see the Government’s Examples of classification and management of sponsored and commission-based activity (BOA).

Project background: The knowledge, including Intellectual Property Rights, that the party or parties bring into projects.

NTNU TTO: NTNU Technology Transfer AS (technology transfer office). Limited liability company owned by NTNU (85 %) and Central Norway Regional Health Authority (15 %).

4. Overall guidelines and principles

4.1. Foundation in legislation and regulations

The most important guidelines are provided through:

4.2. Objectives of the IPR policy

This document sets out NTNU’s policy for the protection and management of intellectual property rights and Physical Material and Results generated at NTNU.

The policy covers all IP, Physical Material and Results (research results and learning resources) generated at NTNU. General knowledge and competence that the individual employee or student gains in connection with their position or studies are not governed by the policy.

NTNU has a social responsibility to ensure that results from NTNU’s activities are widely used in society and the business community and contribute to sustainable development, while the university must ensure the protection of the individual’s academic freedom and the openness of the university’s results. The purpose of the IPR policy is to create predictability among employees, students and partners about the university’s management of IPR in this connection.

The IPR policy is accompanied by the «Guidelines for the Protection and Management of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)», which provide more details for practical use.

4.3. Principles of the IPR policy

As a basic principle, NTNU is to own all Results, IP, Data and Physical Material that have been created using the University’s resources unless otherwise provided by law or agreement by which the university is bound, or this document.

In exceptional cases, where NTNU does not own Results, IP, Data and Physical Material developed using the University’s resources, NTNU must by agreement be secured a licence for use and further development within the University’s core tasks.

Results created by employees at NTNU

For everyone who is employed at NTNU, NTNU owns all Results, IP, Data and Physical Material that is generated by employees in connection with their position at the University, unless exceptions are set out in this IPR policy. This applies regardless of the position in which the person is employed and includes independent contractors and visiting scholars.

It follows from the Employee Inventions Act that NTNU may claim the right to patentable inventions. Under the Copyright Act, NTNU has rights to directories, databases etc. that NTNU has invested building up as well as to computer programs and learning resources created by employees in the performance of tasks covered by their employment relationship or according to the employer’s instructions.

For many externally funded projects, it is a requirement that NTNU has all rights to the results that are created in the project. In such projects, all employees including independent contractors and visiting scholars must consent to the assignment of all rights to NTNU. Through the employment agreements or supplements to these, NTNU will ensure that the ownership of Results, IP, Data and Physical Material generated using university resources is assigned to NTNU.

Agreements on full or partial assignment of intellectual property rights to the Results, IP, Data and Physical Material must always protect the employee’s moral rights under Norway’s Copyright Act.

Exceptions to the basic principle on institutional ownership

NTNU recognizes and emphasizes the right of employees to create and disseminate their own intellectual property. The university will thus not claim ownership rights to traditional scholarly works, textbooks, musical works, architectural works, works of art and teaching materials that have a clearly personal character. These are owned by the employee. The university nevertheless has the right to use (obtain a licence to use) this type of intellectual property for the exercise of its own core activities, except in commercialization activities. Specifications of NTNU’s right of use are described in further detail in separate guidelines.

Results created by students

As a basic principle, all Results, IP, Data and Physical Material created by students at NTNU, or visiting students, are the property of the individual student, and the individual student has free disposal over the results. Exceptions to the basic principle are made for:

data and databases containing personal data, and that are regulated by legislation on personal data.
students who are employed at NTNU, for example, in project positions or as research assistants and who are treated as other employees, as long as the result of the work is related to duties associated with the position.
where the right of ownership is assigned to NTNU by agreement between the parties.
where the right of ownership is assigned to others (for example, businesses) by agreement between the parties

In all cases, NTNU shall, free of charge, have a licence to use Results, IP, Data and Physical Material created by students, and can use them for teaching and research purposes.

Notification requirement for employees

All Results, IP, Data and Physical Material with a potential for commercial utilization must be reported by the employee (creator) to the university through the employee’s line manager and to NTNU TTO (Submit your idea to TTO).

If, in accordance with the law, the employer (NTNU) asserts the right to an invention, the employee must participate in the assignment by signing agreement and/or declaration of assignment.

If NTNU TTO chooses not to establish a project, the ownership of the idea may, after clarification with the Head of Department for the creator, be transferred to the creator(s).


NTNU TTO forms part of NTNU’s ecosystem for innovation and commercialization and is to help NTNU achieve its strategic goals for innovation. NTNU has established NTNU TTO as an instrument for management of NTNU’s IP, and it is NTNU’s support function for commercialization of ideas and research results to which NTNU has the right of ownership under Norwegian law or by agreement. In a professional manner, NTNU TTO is to assess the commercial basis for all ideas (project and work results) and inventions of which NTNU TTO is notified.

In the management of NTNU’s IP, NTNU TTO has a responsibility to ensure that agreements are in line with NTNU’s social responsibility and sustainable development in society and business.

Deliveries from NTNU TTO to NTNU and NTNU’s employees are regulated through a Cooperation Agreement and in annual service agreements between NTNU and NTNU TTO.

Open science, publishing and innovation

NTNU wants results from research and teaching to be made publicly available where this is practically and legally possible. In accordance with national guidelines and NTNU’s open science policy, NTNU must ensure open access to NTNU’s research results, and open access to data for reuse and aggregation where this is feasible and in accordance with guidelines. NTNU also wishes to open the way for increased sharing and reuse of learning resources. It is a goal that research and teaching at the institution will be able to contribute to economic activity in society in general. The timing of publication and publication channels must take possible commercialization into account. Unless otherwise provided by law or agreement, the employee can choose the time of publication and publication channel. NTNU wants to facilitate and encourage open innovation.

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