Office of Research

Property Management

Intangible Property

Informing Sponsors of Inventions and Patents

When a program sponsored by the federal government produces patentable items, patent rights, processes or inventions, the federal sponsoring agency must be informed within 60 days after the inventor discloses it to the University. The University's decision to retain title must be made within two years after the disclosure is made to the sponsoring agency (or within one year from public disclosure, e.g. through publication). If the University elects to retain title, the federal government is provided a non-exclusive irrevocable, paid-up license to practice the invention (or have it practiced on its behalf) throughout the world. If the University does not ensure that appropriate commercialization steps take place within a reasonable time, the federal government may "march in" and require the University to grant a license to a third party for appropriate commercialization in the publics interest. (Procedures implementing federal patent and licensing processes are codified at 37 CFR Part 401, "Rights to Inventions Made by Nonprofit Organizations and Small Business Firms").

Agreements with non-federal sponsors generally contain terms and conditions pertaining to the rights of intellectual property arising from the sponsored agreement that have been negotiated or accepted by the Office for Sponsored Programs.

Copyrights

The author or the recipient organization is free to copyright any books, publications or other copyrighted materials developed in the course of or under a federal agreement, unless otherwise provided in the terms and conditions of the agreement. However, the federal sponsoring agency reserves a royalty-free, nonexclusive and irrevocable right to reproduce, publish or otherwise use, and to authorize others to use, the work for government purposes.

The Special Projects Office coordinates all patent and copyright activities, including the review, marketing and licensing of patents and computer software copyrights. For more information, contact the Special Projects Office. The Faculty Manual, Patent Policy, may also be referenced for primary information.

Property Records

Clemson University must record all non-expendable property with an acquisition value of $5,000 or more and a useful life of at least one year.

When contractor acquired or government furnished property is acquired for a sponsored program, the fixed assets section of Accounting Services will determine and affix an identification number on the equipment (when possible) and on all applicable documents (receiving report, purchase order voucher, etc.). Fixed assets will prepare and maintain inventory records for all federally owned equipment. Principal investigators and grants coordinators should make sure fixed assets always has the following information on sponsored program equipment:

  • Quantity
  • Description
  • Decal number
  • Item classification
  • Administrative unit (department)
  • Location (building and room)
  • Purchase order number
  • Purchase date (month and year)
  • Cost
  • Value
  • Fund code (source of funds used to purchase)
  • Remarks [such additional information as vendor name and address, condition code, "federal surplus property," "title with U.S. government," contract number code (account number), description of component parts and/or description of item of which it is a part, etc.].
  • fixed assets will prepare inventory listings upon request by the PI or other authorized project personnel.
  • Equipment ($5,000 or more)

At the time the property data sheets are prepared by fixed assets, a permanent decal is affixed to the item of equipment. This decal shows the serially controlled identification number, which has been assigned by fixed assets and included on the property inventory records. Should government equipment be received with an identification number already assigned or attached, it will be necessary to affix an additional identification number. A University identification number will also be assigned to identify this government property. Individual budget centers are responsible for maintaining inventories.

Insurable Items (Less than $5,000)

Each budget center should maintain an inventory system for insurable items that cost less than $5,000 and are not on the University inventory. Examples include computers, printers, and lab instruments.

Property Records for Fabricated Equipment

If the University fabricates equipment, the PI and the department chair must maintain cost records of the total costs of such fabrication. If the total cost of parts for a piece of fabricated equipment is $5,000 or more, the PI should notify fixed assets upon completion of fabrication. Fixed assets will then prepare the appropriate property records for inventory control purposes.

Disposition of Government-Owned Equipment

When government-owned equipment is to be disposed of for any reason, the PI and/or department chair will complete a CUBO 206 and route to the Director of Grants and Contracts Administration, who will help to obtain necessary approval from the property administrator (for plant equipment, special tooling or special test equipment). With this approval, the fixed assets section of Accounting Services will remove the item from the inventory. In such cases, all essential information relative to the type of disposition (salvage, trade, transfer, etc.) will be recorded in the property control system. When title to government-owned equipment is transferred to the University Grants and Contracts Administration will notify fixed assets. Fixed assets will record the property transfer online and will take action to add the item to the University inventory listing.

Retaining Title to Property

If sponsor owned equipment or jointly owned equipment remains when a project closes, Grants and Contracts Administration will memo the PI with a list of the equipment, requesting the current location and condition of each item. The PI will also be asked to advise Grants and Contracts Administration of any discrepancies and whether to request title, transfer of accountability or disposition instructions from the sponsor. The PI or a Departmental Representative should note requested information on the inventory list, sign and return the inventory list to Grants and Contracts Administration. Grants and Contracts Administration writes the sponsor (sending the certified inventory list) and makes request for title or disposition instructions, based on the principal investigator's advice.

If the sponsor gives CU title or instructions to transfer accountability, Grants and Contracts Administration will forward a request to fixed assets to enter a new title code. If the sponsor denies title, a memo and copy of the sponsor's denial are sent to the PI so s/he can make arrangements with the sponsor to return item(s). The department should initiate a CUBO 206 and include back-up documentation (shipping documents, etc.) and return through Grants and Contracts Administration to fixed assets to have the item(s) removed from the University inventory records.


Physical Inventories

Conducting Periodic Inventories

The principal investigator should conduct a physical inventory of the grant or contract at the end of each fiscal year. He/she should confirm that information regarding government-owned equipment is correctly listed and described on the Clemson University property record work sheet.

If there are no exceptions to the items of equipment listed, the PI should sign and date the worksheet and return it to Grants and Contracts Administration. If discrepancies are discovered, they must be noted on the worksheet. The modified worksheet is returned to fixed assets. All discrepancies must also be reported to the director of Grants and Contracts Administration for final determination and adjustment.

Conducting Final and Special Inventories

As soon as a contract or grant, for which government property and/or government furnished property has been acquired, is terminated or completed, the PI performs a complete physical inventory of all government property. The Director of Grants and Contracts Administration furnishes final inventory results to the federal property administrator.

Periodically, during the performance of work under the grant or contract, a subcontract involves the acquisition of government property by a subcontractor. When this is the case, the PI will so notify the director of Grants and Contracts Administration who will help to obtain the required inventory from the subcontractor, as well as compliance with all other applicable parts of these regulations.

Reporting Inventory

When required physical inventories are complete, the director of Grants and Contracts Administration will submit all reports specified by federal regulations, property administrators and/or contracting officers pertaining to inventories of government property.


Care, Maintenance and Utilization

Department Chair Responsibility for Government Property Maintenance

Department chairs are accountable for the operation, care, preventive maintenance and protection of all government property in their custody. Accordingly, each must ensure that preventive maintenance schedules are established and followed, and that inspection, maintenance and repair work is properly recorded. Department chairs must ensure the proper care, maintenance and utilization of government property from the time it is received until the University is properly relieved of responsibility in accordance with terms of the grant or contract and/or other applicable regulations of the federal agency.

Preventive Maintenance Records and Schedules

Department chairs must ensure that principal investigators, technicians and/or other appropriate individuals under their supervision establish preventive maintenance schedules for all government furnished equipment within their areas of responsibility. These schedules must take into consideration the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations. In addition, records of the performance of scheduled maintenance, inspection, calibrations, etc., along with the log of all repairs, modifications, maintenance, etc., of the equipment must be maintained throughout the period of responsibility. Such records must be available to representatives of the U.S. government and to appropriate officials of the University for review and inspection as necessary to document compliance with appropriate regulations.

Keeping Records of Maintenance Contracts

A maintenance contract on a piece of equipment shall be a conclusive presumption the required maintenance is being performed and, therefore, no records must be maintained other than those provided by the contractor performing the maintenance.

Making Major Repairs to Equipment

Department chairs must ensure that only qualified repairmen perform major repair work. Whether the repair is performed by a technician or other member of a technician’s staff, a facilities maintenance and operations employee or an outside vendor, department chairs, to the best of their ability, must determine the repairman is properly qualified. If the equipment is still under warranty, the vendor should be notified and required to provide the necessary repair work as covered by the warranty. When items require a major overhaul or capital maintenance that necessitates the expenditure of contract funds, a detailed explanation of the necessary repair work must be reported to the property administrator first.

Monitoring Property Utilization

The principal investigator and the department chair must jointly ensure that government property is utilized only for purposes authorized in the contract. They must also see that government equipment is used sufficiently to justify its retention and that clearance and/or approval is obtained from the property administrator before government property is used on any government contract other than the one for which it was obtained.

Reporting and Disposing of Excess Property

The PI must report excess items from a federal grant or contract in accordance with the terms of the agreement with the federal agency or its established policies. Excess property from a continuing contract or grant should be transferred to storage pending disposal instructions from the appropriate governmental official. The surplus property section of purchasing and supply services coordinates the removal of such items to storage and is responsible for its control, security, protection and care during the storage period. Upon receipt of proper authorization to ship an item of government property, surplus property will make arrangements for shipment in coordination with the PI and the director of Grants and Contracts Administration. The shipment should include appropriate manuals, maintenance instructions, property records, shipping documents, special packing and crating instructions, etc.

When centrally reportable equipment on a NASA project is to be reported as excess, Grants and Contracts Administration must submit an "Idle" DD Form 1342, showing in block 51 the date the item is available for redistribution to the federal property administrator, as far in advance of the anticipated availability date as possible.

Storing and Moving Government Property

When government property is temporarily idle but needed for authorized use in the future, the cognizant PI must ensure storage which meets the requirements of these procedures as to protection, preservation, maintenance, security, control, etc. S/he must take special precautions to ensure protection against corrosion, contamination, accidental damage and other similar hazards. Government property should remain segregated from University-owned property in storage whenever possible.

Appropriate University officials must be able to locate property on call if the property administrator or auditors request it, in which case the property’s physical location must agree with that shown on the property records. Consequently, whenever property is stored or moved to a different physical location, the PI must promptly notify fixed assets so that property records can be modified to reflect the change. Equipment location information must contain both the department to which the equipment has been assigned and the building and room number where the equipment is located.