Skip to Main Content

Copyright & IP @ Whitman: My Rights as an Author/Creator





With only a few exceptions (see the Whitman College Copyright & IP Policy), you own the rights to your copyrightable work until you sign a contract that stipulates otherwise.  Many publishers will require an author agreement that grants all copyrights to that publisher as a condition of publication.  Creators who wish to share, or reuse, their work at a later date should:

  1. Look for an Open Access publisher that supports their academic discipline;
  2. Consider adding a Creative Commons license to the work and sharing it via ARMINDA or other digital repository; or
  3. Negotiate with the publisher to retain some or all of their copyrights.  This can be in the form of a formal author's addendum or a letter granting the publisher "non-exclusive" rights to the work.

Penrose Librarians can provide examples and resources for you to make the right decision for your work.


As stated in the  Copyright & Intellectual Property Policy a member of the Whitman community who creates a potentially patentable invention to which Whitman College has an ownership claim, may choose to declare such an invention to the College in order to pursue possible patent protection.  If the inventor(s) choose to do so, the primary inventor should fill out the Invention Declaration Form and submit it to the office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty.

The Provost and Dean of the Faculty, in conjunction with the Chief Financial Officer, will review the invention declaration and meet with the inventor(s) to evaluate whether the invention might have value if patent protection were secured.  If so, the patent declaration form and any other necessary materials will be sent to appropriate legal counsel for review and appraisal of potential patentability. 

If legal counsel affirms that the invention is likely to be patentable, and the Provost and Dean of the Faculty and Chief Financial Officer believe patent protection to be in the College’s best interest, then legal counsel will be further employed to prepare patent application documents for submission to appropriate governmental authorities in relevant jurisdictions. 

The inventor(s) will support this application process as needed by working with legal counsel to provide and verify the technical details of the patent application(s).  If the inventor(s) need to be able to publish work regarding the invention quickly, they will disclose this requirement to the Provost and Dean of the Faculty, who will direct legal counsel to file for a provisional patent to enable timely publication. 

As owner of the patent, Whitman College retains exclusive rights to determine how the patent best serves the interests of the institution, within the limitations set by the Copyright & Intellectual Property Policy.  This may include exclusive or non-exclusive licensing of the patent to corporations for productization, transferring ownership of the patent, or any other means judged to be of greatest benefit to the institution.  Any revenues obtained in the execution of the patent will be shared with the inventor(s) as specified in the Copyright & Intellectual Property Policy. 

At any point in this process, the college may choose to cease pursuing patent protection for the invention in question, for any reason.  In this case, or if required by the Copyright & Intellectual Property Policy, the College will assign ownership of the intellectual property in question to the original inventor(s), including the patent itself (if secured,) and any documents generated by the patent application process that could be used by the inventors to independently continue pursuing patent protection. 


Is It Really Publishing?

  • Yes!  Posting something publicly available on the Web is considered publishing.  It may be an issue if you later decide to give first publication rights to someone else. 

Do I Need to Post a Copyright Notice?

  • Technically, most works created after 1976 do not need a notice.  However, adding a notice helps warn others that this is your content; registering the work with the Copyright Office gives you the right to collect damages should a court determine that an infringing use has occurred.

​What About Online Collaboration?

  • Use a password-protected website that only your collaborators can access.  Include clear instructions about the use, and re-posting, of the materials.

© 2014 Whitman College Penrose Library |