Report to the Faculty Senate
From the Patent and Copyright Committee
For the 1997-1998 Academic Year

James McNamee, Ph.D., Chairman

The Patent and Copyright Committee (PCC) was composed of the following members: Elected: Elizabeth Bilderback, Arthur Cohen, Allan James, James McNamee, Jane Olsgaard, John Van Zee; Appointed: William Littlejohn, Ardis Savory, and Sally Young. The Committee met monthly from July, 1997 through June, 1998 to discuss disclosures by faculty, students, and staff of the University of South Carolina.

By June 19, 1998 the PCC considered a total of 19 disclosures submitted through eight (Columbia campus) departments. That was 30% fewer disclosures than the number submitted during the 1996-1997 period but approximately the same as the number of disclosures submitted two years ago. Most inventions had the potential for significant commercialization. For this reason, inventors presented their discoveries to the Committee while meeting in executive session so as to protect sensitive details from discovery under the Freedom of Information Act.

The PCC made recommendations to the Provost about the category (1, 2, or 3) of ownership and equity distribution of each disclosure as prescribed by the Faculty Manual. The Provost accepted the recommendation of the PCC in every case. In two instances, the recommendations of the PCC with regard to category of ownership or to equity distribution (60% for the University and 40% divided among the inventors) did not fully agree with the requests of the inventors. These cases prompted the Committee to carefully consider the nature and the extent of involvement of University resources when distinguishing between claims for Category 1 (developed without significant involvement of University resources) and Category 3 (developed with involvement of significant University resources) status. It remains the intention of the PCC to ensure that intellectual property rights of the faculty, students, and staff are adequately protected and fairly compensated by the University.

The Provost requested the opinion of the PCC on the matter of links to Web pages. In view of existing University policy, the Committee felt it had little to contribute to the issue except to suggest that USC's positions on Web pages be thoughtfully revisited in light of ever changing computer and communication technology.

Jane Olsgaard was elected unanimously as the next chair of the PCC. Under her leadership, the Committee will continue to discuss and refine its role in the promotion and protection of intellectual property by faculty, students, and staff at USC.

This page updated 25 August 1998 by the Office of the Faculty Senate,
and copyright 1998, The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.