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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Walker

Q13 & Q14: Who Makes Strategic IP Decisions

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

All of the nonprofits were asked who is authorized to make decisions regarding the use of organization’s Intellectual Property on behalf of the organization. This question is distinct from the one asked earlier about the day-to-day management because it gets at the strategic, rather than tactical, usage of IP.

The nonprofits shared that:

  • Ten (10): The CEO/Executive Director has this authority

  • Six (6): Wrote-in the following:

  • CEO, Director of Finance and Administration, Board

  • Office of General Counsel

  • Full Board of Directors

  • Contract with Copyright holder

  • Combination of Chiefs of Academic office and Program and Partnerships

  • General Counsel

  • One (1): The COO has this authority.

  • Two (2): The Chair of the Board of Directors has this authority.

Comparing this data with the earlier IP management question, two organizations indicated that the day-to-day management and strategic decision-making reside with the same person/office.

The nonprofits were then asked if this decision-making authority is outlined in a policy.

Only three indicate that this strategic decision-making authority is captured in a policy. The other 16 indicated that there is no policy on IP decision-making for the organization.

The lack of a decision-making policy is surprising given the fact that most of the nonprofits responding indicate that they’ve gone to some effort to legally protect their IP assets. Over time, with changes in staff and governance, the lack of clear authority for a critical organizational asset can lead to larger organizational issues.


You can skip to the summary of all of the responses in the Social Entrepreneurs and Intellectual Property Management paper. Or, read through each of the blog posts tagged as Intellectual Property Data V1.0 for a more recent analysis of the data.

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