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Where a UNC invention or copyright has been licensed and income is received, a portion of that income will be distributed to the individual inventors/authors and their departments/units as follows:

  Inventions1 Copyright (University)2 Copyright (Inventor)2
After expenses:
Inventors/authors 40% 40% 70%
Department/Unit 40% 40% 20%
OTC 20% 20% 10%

1UNC Patent and Invention Policy 2UNC Copyright Policy

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Individuals named as inventors on UNC inventions (all employees) or authors on UNC copyright ( EHRA employees only)
  • For patentable inventions, inventors are assigned in accordance with U.S. patent law.
  • For non-patentable inventions covered by the UNC Patent and Invention Policy (software, complex multimedia works, tangible materials, etc.) inventors will be assigned as if the invention were patented.
  • For copyright not included in the UNC Patent and Invention Policy, authors are assigned in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
  • Distributions will not be made to UNC employees who are not inventors/authors except where approved by OTC and the UNC Provost
  • Distributions will only be made to inventors/authors who are (or were) UNC employees except where authorized in a contractual agreement approved by OTC
  • Distributions are allocated equally between inventors/authors unless written authorization for an unequal allocation is provided from all inventors
  • SHRA employees are not eligible for distributions as authors under the UNC Copyright Policy
  • Yes but you must waive all income, you cannot waive partial amounts. Send a signed letter to indicating for which invention(s) you want to waive royalty income and indicate which UNC unit/account is to receive the funds
  • Distributions are made pro rata per invention/copyright, and then per UNC inventor/author
  • Distributions are allocated equally between inventors/authors unless OTC receives written authorization for an unequal allocation signed by all inventors
  • Distributions are made pro rata per invention/copyright, and then per UNC inventor/author, and then equally to each person’s department in the same manner as to the individuals
  • Where the inventor/authors have agreed to an unequal distribution – their department allocations are made equally or as directed by the department (not according to the unequal percentages used for personal distributions)
  • Distributions are made to centers and institutes
    • where an individual has no primary appointment in a department (e.g. research staff)
    • where the department directs the revenue to be allocated to the center or institute (in whole or part)
    • where a policy exception has been approved by the UNC Provost
  • Where an individual has an appointment in more than one department, revenue will be allocated as instructed and approved by all of the departments. If there is a dispute OTC will hold the income until the matter is resolved by the units involved.
  • Once a multi-department allocation is approved for an individual, that same allocation will be applied to all subsequent distributions for that individual
  • Only the lead inventor/author will be kept informed of the license and income status – all others will be notified only during distribution periods if they are receiving a distribution
  • If income has been received and is being held only the lead inventor/author will be kept informed of the reason for, and expected duration of the hold
  • Income is often tied to specific events – we cannot predict when income is expected or when it will be paid to the UNC
  • Please wait at least 20 business days before sending an inquiry
  • Email after 20 business days if you received a distribution notification but have not received payment

Distribution Procedures

General Information:

  • Distributions are made twice a year – January and July
  • Funds may be held where there are outstanding expenses or incomplete information
  • Funds owed to external partners are allocated before calculating UNC distribution plans
  • Email inquiries to (emails are not reviewed on a daily basis except during distribution periods)

Information for Departments/Units:

  • The first distribution for each invention/copyright must be reviewed and approved by the department/unit(s) involved, all subsequent distributions will be allocated as previously approved
  • A chartfield string must be provided to OTC in order for distributions to be processed
  • Funds are transferred by ConnectCarolina journal entry – A detailed royalty report will be attached to the journal entry identifying the source of the income, and the lead PI
  • Departments/units must approve the journal entry within 30 days of notice or the system will automatically delete the entry (reentry will wait until the next distribution period)

Information for Inventors/Authors:

  • An email summarizing all pending distributions will be provided to individuals upon completion of distribution payout request in Connect Carolina by OTC – retain this email for recordkeeping
  • If you are currently employed by UNC:
  • If you are no longer employed by UNC:
    • Payments are made by check
    • Send address and email updates by email to
    • U.S. Citizen/Resident Alien: email to a completed W-9 (leaving Social Security number blank), and ACH form (optional). Please call our office at 919-966-3929 to provide your SS#.
    • Non-Resident Alien – email to a copy of your Visa/Passport, and a completed tax form W-8BEN
  • Payments to the estate or heirs of deceased individuals
    • A deceased individual’s share of royalty income will be paid to their estate
    • Executor must send a death certificate, and a W-9 in the name of the estate to OTC at
  • Undeliverable checks are considered unclaimed property
    • If a royalty check is returned as undeliverable to an invalid address, then after a prescribed amount of time, funds will be sent to the Office of State Treasurer
    • Individuals may claim payment directly at
  • Tax questions
    • UNC Disbursement Services issues 1099-MISC tax form reporting any royalty income you have received for the calendar year (you will need your distribution email to determine how much is attributable to royalty income rather than other miscellaneous income)
    • Please contact finance directly with any tax reporting questions at and/or review the 1099 guidance provided by finance