What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property includes certain artistic and creative works, commercial inventions and devices, and technology developed by Ball State faculty, staff, students, and others participating in Ball State programs. Technology within this framework includes technical innovations, inventions, and discoveries as well as digital and emerging media or other creative works.

Some examples of intellectual property include:

  • drawings
  • paintings
  • music
  • poems
  • textbooks
  • scientific discoveries
  • device or “gadget”
  • software
  • instructional CD or DVD
  • learning tools
  • unique methodologies
  • processes and know-how that may constitute protected trade secrets

Examples of innovations that are not considered intellectual property include:

  • ideas
  • theories
  • mathematical methods
  • discoveries of natural substances

Why do I need to disclose potential Intellectual Property to Ball State University?

Disclosures are used by the University to examine the commercial market value of copyrightable and potentially patentable works. The information submitted on a disclosure form allows the TTO to make decisions about ownership of the work, market impact, licensing, and if applicable, patenting. Ideally, an Intellectual Property Disclosure Form should be submitted before the work has been publicly disclosed or published. 


How can I notify the university that I may have an invention or discovery? When should I disclose?

Notify the University that you may have an invention or discovery by submitting an IP Disclosure form to SPA. You should disclose your potential IP prior to any publication or public disclosure of your work.


Must faculty disclose traditional works of scholarship, e.g. books, monographs, and journal articles and share any royalties derived from these? 

No. According to Section 2.1.4 of Ball State’s Intellectual Property Policy, these works are specifically exempt.


Does student-created intellectual property need to be disclosed?

Generally, student work written, performed, or created in or out of class belongs to the student. Exceptions occur when students use significant university funds, resources, and/or facilities to create their intellectual property (IP). The term “significant” implies use beyond what is considered usual and customary. In such exceptions, a disclosure must be made to the university for the determination of IP ownership, cost recovery, and royalty distribution.

Ball State’s Intellectual Property Policy provides a more detailed explanation regarding university ownership of intellectual property (IP) produced by students. With some exceptions, students fall in the same category as faculty, staff, and visitors, where significant uses of university resources and/or facilities are used to create the IP.

Ball State has a limited royalty-free license to use student-owned work created as part of a university project or program for certain educational, marketing, or promotional purposes.


How does the Ball State Innovation Corporation assist in developing IP into a marketable product or service?

BSIC acts as a conduit between University produced innovation and its potential global impact. From the preliminary research of ideas to the eventual launch of a marketable product or service, BSIC assists Ball State University students, faculty, and staff by providing resources and guidance throughout the complete commercialization process


Where do I learn more about the commercialization process?

The path one entrepreneur takes from innovation to commercialization can be quite different from the path of another. But to eliminate ambiguity in the commercialization process, BSIC has defined a process map that describes the steps through which each Ball State University Innovator will proceed in the typical commercialization journey. Click here to see the commercialization process map in detail


If there is more than one inventor, how are the royalties divided?

In most cases, the inventors agree upon the share of the 30 percent among themselves in a proceeds distribution agreement. If such an agreement is not reached, the university will divide royalties among all inventors as equitably as possible.


How does the IP policy differ regarding student-created intellectual property?

The policy provides a more detailed explanation regarding university ownership of intellectual property (IP) produced by students. With some exceptions, students fall in the same category as faculty, staff, and visitors, where significant uses of university resources and/or facilities are used to create the IP. The student handbook will refer students to the IP policy for information on student created works. The policy further provides that the university has a limited royalty-free license to use student-owned work created as part of a university project or program for certain educational, marketing, or promotional purposes.

Under ordinary circumstances, student work written, performed, or created in or out of class belongs to the student. Exceptions occur when students use significant university funds, resources, and/or facilities to create their IP. The term “significant” implies uses beyond what is considered usual and customary. In such exceptions, a disclosure must be made to the university for the determination of IP ownership, cost recovery, and royalty distribution. Ball State’s Intellectual Property Policy provides a more detailed explanation regarding ownership of intellectual property produced by students.


I’m interested in mobile app development. Who should I talk to?

Contact the Digital Corps at 285-3004.


What types of products have been developed at the university?  Are these products available for purchase?

Ball State University faculty and staff have developed a range of products in diverse disciplines including the sciences, education, business, fine arts, and the humanities.  Click here to access those products currently available for purchase.