Generally, to be regarded as the original owner or co-owner of any intellectual property, you must have made a substantive and/or creative contribution to the creating of the property (the precise legal requirements vary for the various types of intellectual property - copyright works, patentable inventions, etc.) Moreover, you must not have created the property as an employee of another (in which case the employer is the legal owner) or have sold or assigned your rights to the property. At the University of Calgary, the Intellectual Property Policy governs ownership and other intellectual property issues.
Co-owners - Intellectual property can be jointly created and jointly owned. Many written works are co-authored, and many inventions are made by more than one inventor. Several researchers can contribute to the same body of scientific data. Provided the creators were not employed to write or do the work, co-creators or co-contributors to a single work (or property or data collection) share ownership and have the right to copyright, patent, or otherwise deal with the work. Generally, a creator, author or inventor is an individual who has made an original contribution to the work. Just how much or what kind of an original contribution is required to establish that individual as one of the legal authors or inventors is difficult to summarize. The facts of each case must be individually examined. In cases of dispute that cannot be otherwise resolved, advice and assistance of the Faculty Dean may be sought. The University will assist in formal dispute resolution through a mediator appointed by the Vice-President (Research).
Decisions about the use of common or joint data and about jointly created work are best made between or among the creators and owners. The University acts as if jointly created works are equally owned by the creators unless the creators have made another agreement. The University also regards the appearance of an individual's name on a publication as indication that the person named made an original contribution to the work qualifying them as an author with all the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of an author.
What are the implications of co-ownership?
Co-ownership occurs most often when scholarship is pursued in collaboration with other scholars and researchers and is most visible in the number of multi-author papers, patents, and conference presentations produced by university scholars, when several individuals are given credit for substantive contributions to the paper or the work reported in the paper. In universities, co-ownership usually entitles any of the owners to use the work, for example, for further research and to publish the work, with appropriate credit to the others who have contributed. This facilitates the continuity of research and scholarship within the University, particularly in the laboratory sciences where research is often the result of the collaboration and interaction of a group of individuals, and progress is made possible by building on what has gone before.
Graduate students and their supervisors need to be especially sensitive to the implications of collaborative scholarship and research, not only observing the courtesies of the discipline but fully recognizing the contributions that each makes to the work and the rights that each has as a result of their individual contribution.