Vanderbilt University School of Engineering

“Senior Capstone Design Courses”


Explanation of Pre-Invention Assignment and Confidentiality Agreement




Attached is a Pre-Invention Assignment and Confidentiality Agreement that you will be asked to sign before you commence your Senior Capstone Design Courses sponsored by a host company.  This Agreement is a legally binding document between you and the company and is much like the commitments you can expect to make when you enter industry.  You should think about this and make sure that you will have no difficulty in complying with your obligations under the Agreement.


The purpose of the Senior Capstone Design Courses is to allow you to work on a real-world engineering problem for a company involved in that industry.  The Agreement will protect the interests of the company that participates in the Project so that they are not prejudiced in the event that either (i) intellectual property rights are created as a part of the Project or (ii) the company discloses to you confidential information that might injure its ability to compete if this confidential information became known to a competitor.


What is “intellectual property”?  Intellectual property has been defined as any product of the human intellect that is unique, novel, and unobvious (and has some value in the marketplace).  It can include: an idea, invention, expression or literary creation, unique name, business method, industrial process, chemical formula, computer program process, or presentation.  In the Agreement, intellectual property is defined to include a wide variety of inventions and processes including:  “inventions, improvements, methods, devices, software, know-how, trade secrets, discoveries and/or other technology, whether patentable or copyrightable or not, which are conceived and/or reduced to practice by Participant individually or jointly with other project Participants as a result of the project.”


So, what is it that the Agreement requires?  Some specific points about the Agreement which should be borne in mind include the following:







If you have other questions about the Agreement, you should discuss them with your professor.  The Senior Capstone Design Courses is an exciting project.  The Department wants it to be the outstanding learning experience of your University career.  Work hard to make it successful.


Pre-Invention Assignment and Confidentiality Agreement form