Intellectual Property

Approval Date
28 July 2022
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 July 2024
Deputy Chief Executive: Academic Delivery
Baldrige Criteria

Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd) wishes to foster research and development that advances knowledge and scholarship; and to support projects where that leads to marketable products or services.

Otago Polytechnic Ltd:

  • Has a preference for the open sharing of information, knowledge, and resources,
  • Recognises that intellectual property (IP) is owned by the creator, unless there are specific agreements to the ownership of IP by others, and
  • Wishes to foster the empowerment of individuals in their endeavours in a protective and/or promotional framework for individual creators associated with Otago Polytechnic Limited.

The policy recognises that Otago Polytechnic Ltd will accrue benefits from the outcomes of the IP created by the intellectual activity of its staff and learners and the dissemination and sharing of these outcomes.

Otago Polytechnic Ltd wishes to support free and open access to IP generated through the “Creative Commons” attribution process.

All IP that is brought into Otago Polytechnic Ltd belongs with the creators/owners of that IP.

Otago Polytechnic Ltd also has a guardianship role for intellectual property that ensures learners’ rights are protected.

Otago Polytechnic Ltd is committed to its Treaty obligations as outlined in the Te Kura Matatini ki Otago Māori Strategic Framework. This is that Otago Polytechnic Ltd recognises its “guardianship role” as a holder of Māori knowledge and that Māori IP is protected and recognised.


In this policy:

IP “intellectual property” includes the rights to all created work.

Outputs are the products that are created by an individual or group of individuals. This may include, for example, artworks.

Outcomes are the consequences or results arising from the development of, or use of, IP other than products that are created from IP. Examples may include a publication such as a book or, an exhibition.

  1. Ownership of Intellectual Property and outputs arising from intellectual activity:
    In general, all IP and the outputs and outcomes arising from that IP are owned by the creator. While Otago Polytechnic Ltd will derive benefits from the outcomes; there are exceptions to this, as follows:

1.1.         “Co-ownership” refers to those materials that are jointly owned by Otago Polytechnic Ltd and a staff member where such activities are identified within the employment agreement, in this policy, or subject to specific agreement for co-ownership.

1.1.1.    Teaching materials created by staff members are co-owned through the contractual obligations in the employment agreement.

1.2.         “Exclusive ownership” refers to IP that is created when Otago Polytechnic Ltd has specifically commissioned work or is part of a staff members’ employment contract to undertake specific work that will result in the development of IP as part of the employer’s business. Examples would include creating marketing or advertising materials, computer software developed specifically for the employer's business and course or programme of study development.

1.3.         “Ownership by a third party” refers to IP created through work that is undertaken for an external party. All such work will be managed by contractual arrangements which will include an agreement to undertake work, defining the basis of that work, and including how IP will be managed and owned in advance of the work being undertaken.

Note: Unless specifically contracted to do so, nothing in this policy is to be interpreted as Otago Polytechnic Ltd claiming any form of ownership over research outputs.

  1. Learners’ Intellectual Property:

2.1.         Otago Polytechnic Ltd does not wish to make any claim over the ownership of outputs or outcomes of learners’ work. These belong to the creator.

2.2.         Otago Polytechnic Ltd will act in the role of a guardian of learners’ activity to protect learners' rights to IP.

2.3.         For a staff member or any other party to claim any interest in a learner's work this must be agreed and specified prior to the engagement in the activity.

  1. Māori Intellectual Property:

3.1.         Māori knowledge that is brought to Otago Polytechnic Ltd remains the property of Māori.

3.2.         IP created from Māori knowledge is owned by both Māori and the creator but is held by the Polytechnic as “guardian” of that knowledge as agreed in Te Kura Matatini ki Otago Māori Strategic Framework  Refer to the Intellectual Property - Mātauranga Māori policy.

  1. Attribution of Ownership of Intellectual Property:

4.1.      Otago Polytechnic Ltd supports free and open access to IP and will make freely available through Creative Commons Attribution IP it owns or co- owns with the following exceptions:

4.1.1     Otago Polytechnic Ltd may make exceptions to the sharing of IP it owns on a case-by-case basis with detailed reasons for limiting the free access to material; any such restrictions should be time dependant. IP Otago Polytechnic Ltd owns that it considers is commercially sensitive may also be restricted.

4.1.2     Otago Polytechnic Ltd encourages staff members and learners to support free and open access to IP and also to apply the Creative Commons Attribution framework to work created. Where a staff member co-owns IP by virtue of their employment relationship to Otago Polytechnic Ltd the staff member may request an exception be made to the use of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence. Any such exception must be approved by the Director: Research and Postgraduate Studies and will require a valid case to be put for the variation to be approved. Please refer to Otago Polytechnic Ltd Academic Integrity policy.

  1. Disputes:
    Where there is a dispute over ownership, including co-ownership of IP, and/or the commercialisation of any co-owned IP, the following disputes process will apply:

5.1           The matter will initially be referred to the Chief Executive who will rule on the dispute. The Chief Executive may constitute a review or expert panel to assist with reaching a decision. The outcome of the dispute process will be provided within seven (7) working days of the Chief Executive reaching a decision.

5.2           If the applicant wishes to appeal the decision, then this must be done within seven (7) working days of receiving the decision of the Chief Executive. The appeal must be lodged with the Deputy Chief Executive:  People, Culture and Safety (staff) or Te Kaihāpai (learners) who will ensure that the dispute is mediated or arbitrated according to the principles of natural justice with an independent party.

  1. Plagiarism:
    In the case of an allegation that a staff member or a learner has used another staff members or learner’s IP without attribution, the following process will apply:

6.1           The Head of College will consider the matter to ascertain the seriousness of the claim and will consult with the Director People, Culture and Safety (staff) or Te Kaihāpai (learners).

6.2           If the allegation is serious then the matter will be referred to the Chief Executive to be considered under section 5 of this policy.

Reference Document: Learner Intellectual Property Guideline

Learner Intellectual Property Guideline

Intellectual Property (“the Policy”) provides:

  • Otago Polytechnic Ltd does not wish to make any claim over the ownership of outputs or outcomes of learners’ work. These belong to the creator.
  • Otago Polytechnic Ltd will act in the role of a guardian of learners’ activity to protect learners' rights to IP.
  • For a staff member or any other party to claim any interest in a learner's work this must be agreed and specified prior to the engagement in the activity.

 This guideline is to help staff comply with their obligation to guard learners’ intellectual property while also providing learners with benefits to their learning from engaging in real-world projects.

 The circumstances in which real world project work is undertaken as part of learner learning include but are not limited to:

  1. Learners work individually or collectively on learner-only projects, for example, Fashion, Art, and self-employed learners on the Master of Professional Practice programme.
  2.  Learner’s work on projects with a third-party community partner such as a not-for-profit organisation or a business, for example, Business, Communication Design, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Engineering Technologies, and externally employed learners on the Master of Professional Practice programme.
  3. Learner’s work collectively on larger projects which may include staff research, for example, Information Technology and Communication Design learners involved in game development for Forth Street Studio, Information Technology learners working on open source accessibility software, Engineering Technologies learners working on designing interactive biomedical test equipment.
  4. Learner’s work on projects with Otago Polytechnic Ltd as a partner, for example, Business, Leadership for Change, Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education (GDTE), and staff learners on the Master of Professional Practice programme.
  5. Authority to negotiate IP ownership for a learner who is a staff member of Otago Polytechnic Ltd.


  1. In accordance with clause 2.1 of the Policy, learners own the intellectual property they create (for example reports, resources, designs, software) unless otherwise agreed.
  2. Staff engaged in each programme of study must consider each project considering clause 2.2 of the Policy and include appropriate intellectual property provisions in the project documentation.
  3.    The suggested default position is that a partner organisation, including Otago Polytechnic Ltd, has the right to use the learners’ work for the agreed purpose(s) under an irrevocable non-exclusive licence.
  4. In accordance with clause 2.2 of the Policy, no learner is required to assign their intellectual property as a condition of completing any course. Therefore, where the conditions of any project require the learner(s) involved to assign intellectual property in their work, the learner(s) must be given the option of working on another equivalent project without that requirement.
  5. For learners who are also staff members of Otago Polytechnic Ltd and seek support from Otago Polytechnic Ltd (for example time allowance) for their study, Otago Polytechnic Ltd may impose conditions on that support for example co-ownership of intellectual property.  Approval and negotiations of the conditions for Otago Polytechnic Ltd staff learners shall be the Formal Leader of said learner with the relevant Deputy Chief Executive sign-off.
  6. In accordance with clause 2.3 of the Policy, staff engaged in each programme of study must ensure that the intellectual property provisions for each project, whether a default position or any negotiated variation, and all parties’ agreement to those provisions are documented and preserved.
  7. If Otago Polytechnic Ltd wishes to use learner work, for example for promotional purposes, learner consent must be obtained either beforehand or afterward.
Approved by

Dr. Megan Gibbons

Chief Executive

Dated; 28 July 2022

megan gibbons signature


Policy Version: V4:  Previously Coded: MP1100.