Intellectual property of academic works UPC

Academic work UPC: infographicsThere are several aspects related to the intellectual and industrial property of the academic work that the student of the UPC it must be very present before carrying out any act of dissemination or exploitation of these works.

Industrial property "Set of exclusive rights that protect both the innovative activity that manifests itself in new products, new procedures or new designs, and the commercial activity, through the exclusive identification of products and services offered in the market." [Patent and trademark multimedia guide]
Intellectual property "Intellectual property is made up of personal and patrimonial rights that attribute to the author the full disposition and the exclusive right to the exploitation of the work, without other limitations than those established by law." [art. 2 LPI]


By means of Agreement CG / 2019/05/10, of 8 October 2019, of the Governing Council, the Procedure for the prevention and detection of plagiarism of the academic works object of academic evaluation in the UPC (TFG, TFM or doctoral theses):

Procedure for the prevention of plagiarism

To prevent plagiarism in your work, we offer several resources at:

Avoid plagiarism

You may also be interested in these job creation recommendations: where to start, how to search for information and use what you have found, how to write and present the work, and how it is published once approved:


It is very important that before starting the TFG/TFM, the author makes sure that the content and development of his research work does not contain any kind of ethical connection.

If so, you will need a certificate issued by the Ethics Committee of the UPC ensuring that your project complies with the requirements established by current legislation, in addition to having the evaluation of the same committee.

Ethical evaluation of the TFG/TFM

As established by Regulations on the industrial and intellectual property rights of the UPC:

Results Technology, knowledge, know-how, processes and creations that have been generated in the framework of the academic, teaching and research activities of the UPC.

Results Susceptible of protection for industrial property rights (among others: patents, industrial designs, utility models, etc.).


Results susceptible to protection by intellectual property rights (including, among others, the software).

Intellectual property regulates rights over the works, not about them inventions or other search results which can be protected by patents, confidentiality agreements or other industrial property rights.

  • When do one invention derived from the contents of an academic work, it must be subject to confidentiality until the corresponding invention has been protected.
  • Final degree projects (TFG), master's thesis (TFM), doctoral theses or other academic works are works Intellectual property object, that is, copyright.
  • Els Copyright are grouped mainly in: moral rightsoperating rights:
Moral rights A set of inalienable and inalienable rights of the author, including the right to be recognized as such and the right to prevent modifications to his or her work that are detrimental to one's own legitimate interests.
Exploitation rights

The exclusive exercise of operating rights corresponds to the author who, unlike moral rights, may assign them to third parties (with or without exclusivity). Therefore, a third-party work may only be exploited with the consent of the author and / or the holder of the rights, or when permitted by the exceptions contained in the same law. These rights are:

  • Right of reproduction: copy of the work (photocopy, scanning ...)
  • Right of distribution: delivery of physical copies of the work (loan, rental, distribution of copies ...)
  • Right of public communication: dissemination of works without delivery of physical copies (publication on websites or intranets, screening of films or presentations, broadcasting of musical works ...)
  • Law of transformation: creation of derivative works (translations, children's adaptations ...).

As established by Regulations on the industrial and intellectual property rights of the UPC:


Industrial property

  • The student is responsible for the ownership and exploitation rights of the inventions that he has developed within the framework of an academic activity.
  • In the case of inventions made by the students of the UPC together with staff from the UPC, the ownership and exploitation rights of the invention correspond to the student and to the University, in the proportion that corresponds to them taking into account the significant and original intellectual contribution of each one in the development of the invention.
  • In both cases, the UPC has reserved a right of use for academic, teaching and research activities on inventions, although the inventor may revoke it at any time by submitting a written application to the UPC, in which he has to set out the reasonable reasons why he decides to revoke this right [art. 4.1.1.].
Intellectual property (copyright)
  • Corresponds to the student of the UPC the authorship and ownership and exploitation rights of the works he has developed within the framework of an academic activity.
  • In the case of works resulting from works developed by the students of the UPC together with staff from the UPC, the authorship corresponds to both the student and the staff of the UPC, and the ownership of the exploitation rights corresponds to the student of the UPC and to the University, in the proportion that corresponds to them taking into account the significant and original intellectual contribution of each one in the development of the work.
  • In both cases, the UPC reserves the right to use it for academic, teaching and research activities on the work, although the author may revoke it at any time by submitting a written request to the UPC, in which he has to set out the reasonable reasons why he decides to revoke this right [art. 4.1.2].
Assignment of rights
  • The student and the University may agree to the assignment of the exploitation rights on the results of the student in favor of the UPC, in order that the University is in charge of the tasks of protection and exploitation.
  • In this case, the student of the UPC and the University must sign an assignment agreement, in which the compensation corresponding to the student must be established [art. 4.2].
Co-ownership agreement
  • In case of co-ownership between the student of the UPC and the University, both parties must sign a co-ownership agreement, which must establish the regime of protection and exploitation of the results, and the rights and obligations corresponding to each party, taking into account the participation of each in the results. [art. 4.3].

On the other hand, as detailed in the following articles of the Regulations on the industrial and intellectual property rights of the UPC, the exploitation of the Work subject to agreements with companies is subject to the clauses that determine the confidentiality and / or ownership of industrial and intellectual property over the results.

Agreement or contract
  • The development of a research project by members of the university community in the framework of its activity in the UPC, in collaboration or on behalf of third parties, regardless of the branch of knowledge to which it belongs, requires the prior signing of an R&D agreement, a collaboration agreement or a contract works of a scientific, technical or artistic nature or of technical support, as the case may be, in the terms provided for by the internal regulations of the UPC which is applicable [art. 6.1.].
Ownership of rights
  • The system of ownership of the rights to the results obtained in the framework of the execution of the corresponding agreement or contract, as well as the distribution of the exploitation rights deriving from them, must be provided for in the agreement or contract [art. 6.2].
  • When carrying out these activities and negotiating agreements or contracts, the rights that may correspond to the UPC under the Regulations [art. 6.3].

Other related articles of the Academic regulations for undergraduate and master's degree studies UPC (NAGRAMA) (valid from the academic year 2021/2022) are:

TFG / TFM and confidentiality (art. 3.1.5)
  • In the event that the TFG / TFM contains information and / or documentation of a confidential nature or aspects that affect the protection of intellectual and / or industrial property rights, it will be notified to the court, before the public defense of the work, so that it can establish the necessary mechanisms to ensure the non-publicity of these aspects. [...].
  • The student can request the confidentiality of the work to the professor responsible for the direction, coordination or tutoring of the TFG / TFM or to the speaker, in case the project is developed in a company. This application must include an end date (with a maximum period of 5 years) and documentation justifying it, such as the confidentiality agreement between the company and the company. UPC. [...]. The teacher or the speaker can also directly propose the confidentiality of the work to the management of the center [...].
  • If the end date of the confidentiality exceeds 5 years, the documentary justification must also include this aspect and that there is explicit authorization from the centre's management.
Deposit of the TFG / TFM (art. 3.5)
  • The TFG / TFM will be deposited in UPCommons in open access. The authors may indicate (where applicable) a Creative Commons license stating the conditions of use they authorize for their work.
  • Open access publication a UPCommons of the TFG / TFM does not imply an assignment of the exploitation rights of the TFG / TFM to the UPC.
  • Authors may object to the access, consultation and loan of the TFG / TFM when their rights to privacy, honor and / or image are violated, or when confidentiality obligations assumed by the TFG / TFM are violated. author, when documented, in accordance with section 3.1.5 of these regulations [...].
  • They will also be excluded from publication in open access to UPCommons those TFG / TFM that contain unauthorized personal data
  • Right of revocation: authors can request the modification of the publication regime of their work (from the open regime to the restricted oviceversa). To process this request, you must complete the corresponding form of the Electronic Headquarters UPC.

Some important aspects to remember in relation to the articles mentioned in the regulations UPC are:

Industrial property
  • If the student wants to create an invention derived from his work, he should communicate to the University that he has an interest that it be protected. This communication should be prior to the public defense of the work, which allows to guarantee the confidentiality of the content by the same author or any other person (for example, the members of the evaluation panel).
  • It should be borne in mind that confidentiality is essential to apply for a patent futurto invention, "document which guarantees the enjoyment of the industrial property of an invention to the beneficiary who registers it and who grants him rights of exclusive use for a certain period" [Cercaterm].
Intellectual property (copyright)

The authors of the academic works holding the intellectual property are those who may reproduce, distribute, publicly communicate and transform them, and / or assign their exploitation rights to third parties. However, any act of exploitation can only be carried out as long as these requirements are met:

  • The work does not violate the intellectual property rights of third parties.
  • There is no agreement or contract signed with third parties whose conditions prevent its exploitation. For example, this would be the case of a TFG subject to confidentiality because it is required by the company where it was made, which is detailed in the corresponding agreement.


As established by Regulations on the industrial and intellectual property rights of the UPC:


Industrial and intellectual property
  • The authorship of a doctoral thesis corresponds per se to the doctoral student. According to the Royal Decree 99/2011, of 28 January, which regulates official doctoral studies, the doctoral thesis, once approved, is published by the UPC in open electronic format in an institutional repository, without the author being able to oppose it, except in exceptional circumstances provided for in the applicable regulations.
  • Before the institutional deposit of the thesis, the doctoral student must fill in the declaration form that can be found on the website of theDoctoral School.
  • If a new result has been developed when doing the doctoral thesis, the exploitation rights on this result correspond to the doctoral student, unless a personal contribution from the UPC, case in which the UPC has the right to participate in the exploitation rights of the result in the proportion that corresponds to him according to the participation of his personnel in the obtaining of the result.
  • If the doctoral student carries out these activities within the framework of an employment relationship with the UPC, the regime applicable to the results is that provided for the results generated by the staff of the UPC (article 3) [art. 7.4].
Agreements with third parties
  • Industrial doctoral students: the agreements that the UPC subscribes with collaborating companies or entities and the doctoral student to carry out industrial doctoral projects in the collaborating company or entity must expressly provide for the system for attributing the results that may be generated [art. 7.5].

Other articles from the Academic regulations of the doctoral studies of the UPC that are related are:

Protection process
  • In exceptional circumstances, such as the participation of companies in the elaboration of the thesis, the existence of confidentiality agreements with companies or the possibility of generating patents related to the content of the doctoral thesis, a specific procedure to ensure that these aspects are not published in the act of defense and in the archiving of the doctoral thesis in institutional repositories.

  • The doctoral student must expressly request the application of this procedure to the academic committee of the program in advance of the deposit, in accordance with what it establishes [art. 10.3].

  • In particular cases, determined by the academic committee of the program, such as the participation of companies or the possibility of generating patents related to the content of the thesis, the Doctoral School enables the appropriate procedure to ensure that these are not published. aspects during the defense, as established in section 10.3 [art. 15.1].
Institutional deposit
  • In order to promote the visibility of the theses and increase the impact index of the authors' citation, once the doctoral thesis has been evaluated, it is published in the respective institutional repositories of open access of doctoral theses of the UPC (UPCommons) and Catalan universities (TDX).
  • To this end, the author must sign the declaration of responsibility and corresponding regulation of rights, as well as the other broadcast authorizations that apply, which the corresponding management unit must deliver at the moment to deposit the thesis
  • If the thesis contains confidential aspects or if the author has signed a contract or formalized a commitment with a publication to which he assigns his rights, the publication of the thesis in the TDX is carried out when the process of protection of the thesis or assignment of copyright [art. 15.4].

Some important aspects to remember in relation to the articles mentioned in the regulations UPC are:

Industrial property
  • In order to enforce the regulations UPC, doctoral students whose doctoral theses have confidentiality agreements with companies or on the content of which it is possible to generate patents, must present to the academic committee of the corresponding doctoral program the documentation that accredits it, as is detailed on the website of theSchool of Doctorate of the UPC.
Intellectual property (copyright)
  • Since the sole holder of the exploitation rights of the thesis remains the author, only he can make any other act of exploitation or assignment of rights, such as, for example, translating the thesis, publishing it with sales objectives or to grant a license Creative Commons.

  • The University reserves only a non-exclusive right to communicate publicly to institutional deposits UPCommons i TDX. However, the thesis may not be disseminated in the following cases:

    • The work violates the intellectual property rights of third parties.

    • A patent can be applied for on the content of the thesis.

    • Existing confidentiality agreements exist with third parties (for example, companies or publishers).

Although the acts of exploitation that may be made of a work (reproduction, distribution, public communication and transformation) originally belong to the author, he may transfer them to third parties with or without exclusivity, provided that they do not there are aspects of industrial property that prevent it.

Non-exclusive assignments Assignments that allow the recipient (assignee) to use the work according to the terms of the assignment and in concurrence with other assignees, as well as with the person making the assignment. Your right is non-transferable.
Cessions in exclusive Assignments that give the recipient (assignee) the right to exploit the work to the exclusion of another person (including the person making the assignment) and, unless otherwise agreed, the right to grant non-exclusive authorizations to third parties.
  • When the student who writes an academic paper disseminates it through UPCommons, assigns its right of public communication to the University in a manner not exclusive
  • This means that the University is only authorized to publish the work in its own repositories, while the student remains the sole holder of the rights that, as such, he may perform any other act of exploitation or assignment of rights. For example, the author of the work is the only person who can translate the work, publish it for commercial purposes or grant a license. Creative Commons.

To facilitate the use of the work deposited in UPCommons and TDX, the student can grant one of the six use licenses Creative Commons. In this way, users know the specific uses they can make of the works without having to ask permission from the corresponding authors.

Work with a CC license

The author allows specific uses to be made of his or her work, more permissive than those allowed by the Intellectual property law:

  • Any of the existing CC licenses allow users of the works to reproduce, distribute and communicate to the public.
  • Depending on the license chosen, the author may also allow the marketing and / or creation of derivative works (translations, etc.).
  • The user must always cite and acknowledge its authorship, as well as provide a link to the original CC license in the event that the work is reused or disseminated.
Work without CC license

Works without a CC license can only be used according to the one set by the Intellectual property lawl:

  • A reservation of rights is established for which, without prejudice to the existing legal exemptions (such as private copying or the right of summons), the reproduction, distribution, public communication or transformation of the work is prohibited.
  • The user of the work who wishes to make any unforeseen use of it as a legal exemption must contact the author and / or the person who holds the rights to request permission.

More information

In the specific case that you want to publish a work already deposited, there could only be a problem if the person receiving the rights (editor or editor) does not accept the prior dissemination of the original work (preprint). However, it should be noted that:

  • Many publishers and magazines accept the institutional deposit of the preprints.
  • In any case, the publication of the work in the University's institutional repository increases its international accessibility and visibility, as evidenced by the large number of companies and researchers who want to contact students after the works have been deposited. For example, this is the case for some publishers who have shown interest in publishing a book after consulting the original work in the repository.

If the work is finally published, it must be borne in mind that the assignment contract or the publisher's publication rules must specify whether the assignment is exclusive, what specific rights the author assigns, and with what duration and in what territorial scope.

If the assignment contract or the publication rules do not specify this information, the assignment is limited to 5 years, in the country in which the assignment is made, and in the modalities of exploitation that are indispensable for the fulfillment of the contract.

Before accepting the offer of publication of a monograph by a publisher, the author must be informed of its credibility and legally advised before signing any type of contract.

There are some publishers, called "predators", who carry out very questionable practices from an ethical point of view and scientific rigor:

  • The publisher contacts the author (usually by e-mail) and offers to publish the work for free, but this publication is based on an on-demand printing model that is limited to the reproduction of the works. academic works, without any kind of revision or analysis or any other editing task on your part.
  • People who buy it think they are buying a published book, but in reality it is a mere reproduction of an academic work to which only one cover has been added and which can often be found with free access to the repositories. or the websites of universities.
  • The work enters the publishing circuit and the author only charges if there is a minimum demand for prints. Therefore, the publisher does not do any work or run any financial risk.
  • This type of publication does not provide the recognition or prestige that interests the author, but quite the opposite.
  • If the author assigns exclusively the exploitation rights of the work to such a publishing house, he / she will not be able to publish it with other prestigious publishing houses (which would provide editorial and scientific value).

If you want to publish a scientific article, you should also avoid predatory journals, as detailed in:

Some links where you can find information on the usual practices of these publishers:

According to theOrder of the Ministry of Culture of October 15, 1992, by which approve the general criteria ofevaluation and selection of documentation and the corresponding proposal model, “documents containing significant data on science and technology must be retained”. This case includes the University's dissertations.

On the other hand, as established by the 10 / 2001 Law, from 13 in July, of files and documents, "The administrations and entities that hold public documents, and specifically the bodies responsible for guarding them, must make possible the access and give a copy or a certificate to the people who in each case have the right. In any case, it is necessary to guarantee the right to personal privacy and the reservation of data protected by law. "

Taking into account these legal norms:

  • The works that can not be consulted online, through the institutional repository UPCommonsThey will be able to check the depositary library oal 'school archive (if the library does not have a copy in its collection).
  • Excluded from this public consultation works whose content may affect the confidentiality or industrial property of third parties.

Last update: 20 / 04 / 2023