In the framework of preparing their final theses, students are often involved in collaborations between the University and its partners from the business sector. Such collaborations include a particular feature, in that they involve three parties, i.e. also students, who have certain rights and obligations. Since each party to a collaboration has its own purpose and objective (for the student, this is primarily the completion of a written final thesis and thus the completion of studies at the University of Ljubljana), it is recommended that a tripartite agreement between the University of Ljubljana, the business sector partner and the student be concluded before each such collaboration.
Among other things, tripartite agreements stipulate the following:
- the student owns the copyright on the final thesis
By writing the final thesis, the student creates a work, for which they acquire copyright by law. According to the Statute of the University of Ljubljana, they must transfer part of the copyright to the University of Ljubljana.
- the final thesis text must be published in its entirety
The final thesis is available in print form at the library of the related University member, the National and University Library, and in electronic form in the University’s Repository; defences of final theses are also open to the public. Only exceptionally may a thesis be temporarily unavailable for a limited period of time. It is therefore not recommended for a final thesis to contain any information and data that might constitute a business secret of an industrial partner.
- who owns the research results described in the final thesis, and who has the right to manage them
The final thesis must be separated from the research results described in the thesis, which may be subject to the protection of a variety of intellectual property rights, that may fully or partly belong to someone else.
A final thesis may include an invention, the creation of which was contributed to by the student, the industrial partner, as well as the mentor or other staff at the University’s member. Contributions are not necessarily intellectual, they might have come in another form (funds, materials, access to equipment, etc.). The parties assess all these contributions and agree on how to divide the ownership of the invention or another form of innovation included in the final thesis. The contracting parties agree on the right to manage and use the invention by means of a separate contract. If the research results are not legally protected and are public, the industrial partner (as well as third parties) has the right to use these results without any restrictions.
- obligation to legally protect the results before publishing the final thesis (defence)
Before defending the final thesis (i.e. before presenting it to the public), it is important to make sure the invention or another innovation included in the final thesis is legally protected. As the Knowledge Transfer Office helps students in this process, it is recommended to inform the Office as soon as possible about one’s final thesis and defence. If legal protection cannot be provided before the publication of the final thesis, it is under exceptional circumstances possible to request temporary unavailability of the final thesis in accordance with the Rules on content similarity detection of the electronic form of the written final work of studies and on provisions regarding temporary inaccessibility of the content of the written final work of studies.
The above information may also help you with any other activities that are part of your study obligations (e.g. seminar papers, competitions).