Middlebury’s Intellectual Property policy, approved by the Board of Trustees in October 2016, aims to protect and celebrate the work of members of the Middlebury Community, to establish understood guidelines with respect to ownership and use of Intellectual Property, and to demonstrate Middlebury’s commitment to sharing the Middlebury Community’s expertise for the public good.

This policy has four notable features:

 1) An orientation toward the creator(s) of Intellectual Property that respects the creative, knowledge-generating, and self-directed work that goes into much of the IP created at institutions of higher education. 

 2) An acknowledgement of Middlebury’s needs to operate and thrive in an ever-changing world. 

 3) A progressive perspective that does not differentiate between the academic and scholarly work of faculty, staff, or students. 

 4) An orientation toward ongoing conversations about IP. 

The policy provides for an ongoing Intellectual Property committee, appointed by the Provost and approved by the Board of Trustees, to regularly review how the policy is being implemented and where the policy might need to be updated.  The policy may only be modified, restated, or repealed with the approval of the Middlebury Board of Trustees.

“Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.” (Learn more: World Intellectual Property Organization) In the United States, intellectual property is protected by various laws, including copyright laws, patent laws, and trademark laws. As a creator of intellectual property, you should know your rights within those laws.

A copyrighted work is an original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which it can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories: written works; musical works, including any accompanying words; dramatic works, including any accompanying music; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; architectural works; and coyrightable elements of trademarked materials. From the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress


Patents protect ideas that consist of any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. A patent grants the patentee “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States, and, if the invention is a process, of the right to exclude others from using, offering for sale or selling throughout the United States, or importing into the United States, products made by that process.” 


Trademarks means any words or symbols, or combination of words or symbols, that are used to represent Middlebury’s services and/or goods. Trademark rights are derived from the use by Middlebury of the trademark or service mark in connection with its services and goods. From the US Patent and Trademark Office