The Office of Technology Licensing has determined that publication of a dissertation qualifies as a public disclosure for purposes of patent filings. This is true for both print and electronic dissertations, and is true even when the dissertation is embargoed so that access is limited to the Stanford community. It is critical that faculty and doctoral candidates work together well in advance of the candidate’s dissertation filing to ensure that timing concerns regarding publication of data are resolved.
Students, similarly, need to be aware that their dissertation is a publication. This can cause conflicts where dissertations incorporate materials that are either previously published or, often more challenging, destined for future publication. Students should carefully review publication agreements for material that will be included in their dissertation to ensure that inclusion in the dissertation will not cause a conflict. In addition, students must work with their advisors to ensure that they do not inappropriately republish material, or publish material that is intended for later publication, by another member of a project team or a research partner.
More information on dissertation copyright issues are outlined in this presentation that all dissertation candidates are required to review: