Whitireia tutor wins intellectual property argument

Posted By TEU on Sep 30, 2010 |

Tertiary Update Vol 13 No 37

A ruling this week by the Employment Authority means Whitireia tutor Anne Abbott has the intellectual property rights to maths workbooks which the polytechnic was trying to claim as its own. Ms Abbott, who has worked for Whitireia for over 20 years as a Foundation Studies tutor, had developed and updated a collection of workbooks for her own use in her teaching.

In 2004 Whitireia introduced a new intellectual property policy claiming that it had the ownership rights over property created by staff members in the course of their employment or when using polytechnic time, resources or facilities.

Whitireia wrote to Ms Abbott in 2009 claiming ownership of her workbooks and threatening disciplinary action if she did not acquiesce. Ms Abbott rejected the claim, saying that she had created the workbooks in her own time and also uses them as part of her secondary employment as a private tutor.

The authority found that Ms Abbott’s job description did not require her to make workbooks and that she was able to meet the requirements of her job without using the workbooks.

“While the workbooks arose out of her employment and are informed by it, they nonetheless were the result of the applicant’s intellectual curiosity and sense of professionalism and do not belong to Whitireia.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. TEC claims there’s more money but where is it?
  2. Govt should compensate for VSM
  3. EFTS cap forces redundancies at Waikato Uni
  4. ‘Insidious’ market encroachment following economic crisis

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TEU Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Tertiary Education Union and others. You can subscribe to Tertiary Update by email or feed reader. Back issues are available on the TEU website. Direct inquiries should be made to Stephen Day, email: http://scr.im/stephenday

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