Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

November 6, 2014

New deadline for IP form is Nov. 21

Beginning Nov. 21, faculty who have — or want to have — federal grants or contracts must have an intellectual property (IP) assignment agreement or IP acknowledgment on file with the Office of Technology Management.

In an Oct. 24 letter to faculty, Provost Patricia E. Beeson announced the deadline and reiterated the three options she outlined at Senate Council last month. (See Oct. 23 University Times.)


The first option allows faculty who signed the assignment agreement form circulated with Vice Provost Carey Balaban’s Aug. 4 memo to let that agreement stand.

The second option is to sign a revised assignment agreement form that incorporates suggestions made by a task force convened by the provost after some faculty balked at signing the original agreement.

The University Senate tenure and academic freedom committee brought a motion to Faculty Assembly in September in response to faculty who felt pressured to sign the initial IP agreement. (See Sept. 11 University Times.)

Beeson acceded to the Assembly’s request for more time and more information, delaying an initial Sept. 16 deadline and forming an ad hoc committee to air faculty concerns.

The third option is to sign an IP rights acknowledgment form in which faculty agree to abide by Pitt patent rights and technology transfer policy but delay assigning IP rights to the University until the time of invention.

Faculty who signed the initial agreement may opt to replace it with the revised IP agreement or the IP rights acknowledgement.


Beeson has called upon University deans to implement a process within their schools for collecting the signed assignment agreement or acknowledgement forms in time to meet the Nov. 21 deadline.

In her letter, she explained that federal agencies, as a condition of providing funding, require the University to have agreements in place with individual faculty to protect the government’s interest in IP developed with the support of federal grants and contracts. She noted as well that foundation and corporate contracts and material transfer agreements increasingly are requiring that IP assignment agreements be in place.


Information sessions for faculty with questions on the IP agreement options, announced in Beeson’s Oct. 24 letter, were scheduled over the past week and a web page with links to the three options, background information and frequently asked questions has been established at

The University Senate has collected resources on IP issues at

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 47 Issue 6