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College of Engineering and Computing


Intellectual Property

As part of a Capstone project, students may contribute to the development of intellectual property (IP). These developments — whether circuits, system schematics, circuit board layouts, computer code or patentable inventions — can generate income from use payments or patent royalties.

Under its Intellectual Property (IP) policy, the University of South Carolina owns IP that is created by its faculty, staff, or students in the scope of their work using University resources or using funding that flows through the University. 

USC recognizes that Capstone Design Projects are unique.  As undergraduate students, Capstone Design Project students are not employees of the University, are not performing research under a research program, and are not receiving funding from the University.  Therefore, USC does not claim an ownership interest in IP that is created during the Capstone Design Projects.   By default, students will own IP that they create.  Prior to the start of the project, sponsors may make a written request to own IP created during a Capstone Design Project that they fund.  Students who prefer to retain ownership of the IP that they create may elect to work on projects where there is no outside sponsor or where the sponsor has not requested ownership.

Confidential Information

A Company may request students to enter into a confidentiality agreement in order for the Company to participate and provide a project to the Students. In certain circumstances this may be a reasonable request by the Company. However, please be aware that the Capstone Design Expo is open to the public and that project information must be shared with other Students and professors in the Course to meet the Course requirement.

Conflict Disclosure

Students should consider whether assigning IP rights or signing a confidentiality agreement for a Capstone project would conflict with any other activity in which they are engaged. For example, if students or faculty are involved in a similar project as part of teaching or research activities, they might want to consider whether the Capstone project would create a real or perceived conflict with the other activity. Questions or concerns about a potential conflict should be discussed with the coordinating professor.