Project activities produce various types of output. This output can include patents, utility models, trademarks, or copyright or design protection (formalised as IPR, ‘Intellectual Property Rights’). This output can also include know-how, trade secrets, processes, drawings, programs, databases, and technology transfer (all of which are classed as ‘Intellectual Assets’). Projects always generate new skills at the very least, along with know-how and networks (known as ‘Human Capital’). Patents, utility models, design protection and trademarks are industrial rights, and the inventor of these may gain a competitive edge by their use. The use of the term ‘industrial rights’ can be taken to refer to individual rights for the protection of inventions, brand names used as identifiers of goods and services and, among other things, the appearance of a product in the geographical region in which protection is sought. Protection is at its most efficient if it can flexibly combine the various forms of protection. An invention may be protected with a patent and/or a utility model. Copyrighting a design protects the appearance of the product itself, or part of it, and the trademark protects a product or a service.
Intangible rights are handled on a large scale at JAMK, and the utilisation and protection of these rights is an essential part of project activities. Therefore, it is necessary that a utilisation plan for project output is drawn up as early as the planning phase, and this should be done no later than by the end of the project.
Ownership and utilisation of output
The owner of any output is the party that achieved that output. Such output may also have several owners. The owner has the primary right to decide about protection and the transfer of their output. The project finance provider also has a say in the matter of output ownership and utilisation. Therefore, ownership and user rights of project output should always be agreed upon with any other involved parties and with the project finance provider no later than by the end of the project.
The utilisation of output depends on the project’s financing criteria. For example, in EU financed regional development projects it is usually expected that the output will be available for free use by everyone, and the output will not remain under the exclusive ownership of the project actor. In such cases, spreading the word about the output is central. In projects involving public support, which is financed by Tekes, the output again does not automatically belong to the companies who have been participating in the project, but the companies are expected to pay an amount in compensation that corresponds to a fair market price for the output.
Licensing as a means of utilising output
In the licensing of an invention, its owner grants the rights to another company (the licensee) to use that invention in return for compensation in one form or another. Those rights usually includes permission to produce and sell a corresponding product or service. When licensing an invention, the grantor of the licence retains ownership. After granting a licence, the inventor may still remain involved in helping the licensee company to develop the idea into an innovative product. Licensing is often a rapid, cost-effective method for releasing an invention for use by other companies and onto trade markets.
In issues related to the utilisation of output and the protection of rights, you can turn to the expert lawyer Annukka Akselin.
Inventions by institutions of higher education
JAMK abides by the Act on the Right in Inventions made at Higher Education Institutions (369/2006), which governs inventions that have been created in institutions of higher education. According to the Act on the Right in Inventions made at Higher Education Institutions, the inventor is obliged to submit an invention disclosure notification after anything is invented which belongs in the scope of the application of the Act. If the institution of higher education assumes the rights for the invention, the inventor is entitled to compensation.
Further information about the invention disclosure notification and the invention process in institutions of higher education is available on the intranet.
JAMK produces plenty of materials that are subject to copyright, while also using a lot of copyrighted output that is owned by others. What is copyright?
Copyright is a legal concept that gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to that work. A company or an organisation can never own copyright, but the rights can be transferred to them from an individual who is responsible for the work.
The threshold of originality that is represented by any such original work is exceeded when work is produced that is of a sufficiently independent and distinct nature and which has already been realised in a concrete form or manner. Facts, theories, methods and ideas can never be copyrighted. Currently, especially in data networks, the quantity of materials that are being moved around is so huge that monitoring copyright issues is practically impossible. Therefore, it is always safest to proceed from the assumption that the material found on the network may become protected by copyright at some stage. Traditionally, work that is copyrighted includes books, musical compositions, and cinematographic work. Original work in the network environment includes computer programs, individual documents, pictures, drawings, graphical presentations, and texts. Improvised speeches, explanations and lectures are also classified as original work. The holders of so-called related rights, such as the presenter and producer of an original work, are also protected under copyright rules.
Copyright consists of economic and moral rights. Only the economic rights can be transferred effectually against compensation or without compensation. The holder of copyright is always entitled to prohibit the unauthorised use of their protected work and demand the payment of relevant compensation for any infringement of their copyright that might occur. Therefore, where R&D and teaching materials are concerned, it is necessary to clarify the point that there should always be an appropriate agreement regarding the use of copyrighted materials.
Copyright is hereditary and valid for a specific term, usually seventy years after the death of the author or creator of a copyrighted work.
The terms, however, are subject to numerous exceptions, such as those concerning related rights.
According to the main rule in the Copyright Act, an employee possesses the copyright for the original work that they have created, unless agreed otherwise with the employer. The rights to a computer program or a database that has been created within the employment relationship are transferred to the employer according to Copyright Act § 40b. An employer always has the right to use such original work that has been created in a working or civil service relationship that has been produced on the basis of the general responsibility to work. In such cases copyright over original work that has been produced by employees is transferred on the basis of the law directly to the employer without the need for any separate agreement.
Free use licences and Creative Commons licences
On the internet there are various databases and photostocks that have been collected together for teaching purposes, and the materials included are licensed in such a way that allows more freedom of use with them. For example, a licence may permit unlimited public presentation and display of the original work. It may also permit the work to be changed or distributed. A licence may even permit the original work to be used for commercial purposes.
Free use licences and Creative Commons licences are suitable for areas such as the distribution of project output in regional development projects, where the output should be freely available to everyone.
However, when using such databases and photostocks, you should always read the user conditions for each individual site and study the details of licences that cover the use of the materials.
Databases and photostocks that allow more freedom of use include Wikipedia, Fennica, the Nelli portal in part, Google searches for free images, www.flickr.com, and www.freefoto.com.
Central practices, taking into consideration copyright legislation, include the following stipulations:
- A copyrighted original work may not be added to a publication, materials, a study environment or a website without the permission of the author. Always mention the name of the author and the source.
- An original work may be cited without the permission of the author. The name of the author should always be mentioned by the citation.
- An original work may be copied for private use.
- Linking is generally possible without the permission of the author.
- Adding photos of individual persons to a publication, materials, a study environment or a website requires the permission of those persons who are depicted in the photos in question. Do not use photos that have been taken in the privacy of the home, or in a meeting room or an office that is closed to the public, or in an enclosed area or similar location. These are all areas in which privacy is protected.
- If using a photo that has been taken or ordered by another person, ask the photographer or the person who has ordered the photograph for permission to use their work. The best form of permission is a written contract that grants the holder the right to use the materials in question.
- When using network services, databases and photostocks, carefully read the respective terms and conditions for their users and the conditions of the relevant licence.
- The same copyright rules are also applicable for students. If presenting the output of students to the general public, check with the students concerned that they have given their permission for their work to be presented in this way.