Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Richard Fiordo


Whether a singular stroke of brilliance or a slow evolution of discovery; ownership of ideas has been the root of innovation and controversy. Innovation is often nothing more than an idea. Ideas may be bought or sold, traded or stolen, developed or lost. Intellectual property is a legal construct created to protect exclusivity of creation and rights of commercialization and distribution. The landscape of intellectual property has become expansive and complicated. It has become difficult to classify intellectual property rights as many people consider them economic rights, and others, property rights, and still more, increasingly in the West, personal rights, much like free speech. Historically, governments and institutions have sought to control the diffusion of ideas as shifts in ideas and their proliferation have often destabilized existing structures and paradigms. One such institution is higher education. This research examines intellectual property policies within the hotbed of knowledge creation, higher education. Higher education sits in a unique position to create intellectual property. Policies have been created surrounding intellectual property within higher education since the advent of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. These policies not only limit understanding of intellectual property, but through their top down nature, their controlled structures and punitive approaches serve to limit the environment in which intellectual property might be created. These policies clearly indicate that it is the power structure that is to be preserved, not intellectual property that is to be created.