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I thought of an interesting idea for a thesis for my Masters program and I think I would eventually be able to sell a product that is built from the algorithms/code that I develop for this thesis. I realize my thesis is my work and I have the copyright permissions, but I am wondering what rights I have and what rights my school has if I were to take my thesis and develop it into a product which I then sell to customers.

Would I have all rights for selling this product or since my professor is essentially guiding me and assisting me in my research, does he/she own a part of it as well? I can only seem to find answers on the internet that pertain to the copyright permissions of the actual developed thesis, not products that might be derived from such efforts, or code that was developed in tandem with writing the thesis.

Any links to proof or legal precedence would be very helpful as well.

1 Answer 1

Regardless of how the legal situation is, discuss it with you supervisor in a friendly way to figure out

  • if he wants to put stones in your way, even for the things which you legally could sell. (Even if you may win a lawsuit, financing a lawsuit before you actually sell products could be a problem)

  • if he is plainly supportive of the idea and helps you without own interest

  • if he like to give you recommendation for a company/group working on these topics

  • if he would like to create a company with you (in that case you would have continued access to the research)

  • if some technology is already patented for some applications or if parts of the materials you used were obtained under an NDA.

  • if there is a competitor (e.g. another student of his/people he knows in the field)