Developed Software

Who is the author of software?

Generally, software created under research grants/contracts or in the course of University employment is considered to be a "work for hire" under U.S. Copyright law so the University is considered as the author of the software. In other circumstances, the "author" of software is the original creator(s) of the code and the author(s) owns the copyright to the software. Refer to the UNO Intellectual Property Policy (AP 20.05) for details.

Do I need to disclose software I have developed?

Yes. Software should be disclosed to the OTMC before it is distributed outside the University so we can determine under what circumstances it can be distributed and determine if it should be commercialized. For example, if the software was developed under a grant or contract, there may be certain restrictions or requirements limiting distribution. Also, we may be required to notify the sponsor prior to distribution. In addition, it may be desirable to patent certain elements of the software and distribution could negatively affect our ability to obtain any patents.

How do I disclose software?

Use the Technology Disclosure Form in which you will describe the software and provide an indication as to how you wish to release or commercialize the software. In most cases, we will provide information on the type of copyright notice to affix to the software prior to its release.

How do I copyright software?

A copyright is automatic and is granted through the process of writing the code (i.e. "when it is fixed in tangible form"). In some cases, it is desirable to register the material with the U.S. Copyright Office; this provides a written record of the material which can be useful in prosecuting infringement. The registration requires completion of a two page form and the first 25 pages and last 25 pages of the code in question.

The OTMC might register any software that is being considered for licensing.

Can software be patented?

Yes. Since copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation; a patent can be very useful in protecting algorithms and business methods provided they have commercial value and can not be easily circumvented. However, patent law has become more restrictive on what can be patented in recent years.

What are the types of software licenses?

Software can be licensed for commercial use, for non-commercial or academic use and may be released simultaneously under several different types of licenses. In some cases, an evaluation copy of the software can be provided on a trial basis with a key code that disables the software at the end of the evaluation period.

Can software be released under an open source license?

Yes. If there are no obligations to research sponsors, co-owners or other third parties, and all the authors/creators and OTMC agree, the software can generally be released under an open source license.