Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Procedure

Final Approval Body: Board of Trustees

Senior Administrative Position with Responsibility: Vice-Principal, Research

Date Initially Approved: May, 2022

Purpose of Procedure

The University recommends that all Contributors discuss treatment of Intellectual Property before starting a new research project. As Intellectual Property may be identified at different phases during the life span of a project, discussions about such Intellectual Property may need to occur at later times or at multiple times throughout the project. As needed, consultations about such Intellectual Property should start informally with University experts, including but not limited to, Department Heads, Deans/Associate Deans of Research and representatives of Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation (“QPI”).  Any areas of concern must be brought forward in these discussions for clarification, so that an agreement can be reached. The agreement must be in writing and may be revised in writing by the Contributors as needed.

For Student Disputes - Intellectual Property disputes that are wholly among Students are to be reported to the appropriate Faculty Dean and addressed under the Dean’s processes and jurisdiction. If the dispute cannot be resolved by the Faculty Dean, the Vice-Provost and Dean (Graduate Studies) shall address the dispute under its processes and jurisdiction.


When Researcher(s) and/or Student(s) cannot reach an agreement about shared Intellectual Property, a dispute is deemed to exist, and the following processes shall apply:

  • Referral to Advisor - The Researcher(s) and/or Student(s) may contact the Vice-Principal Research portfolio to request a referral to an advisor who will provide confidential advice regarding the matter, prior to the Researcher(s) and/or Student(s) deciding whether to submit a formal written complaint to the Vice-Principal Research. The advisor will be appointed by the Vice-Principal Research and will normally have expertise related to Intellectual Property and to the mechanisms that exist to resolve disputes.  
  • Submission of Formal Complaint - If the preceding step does not resolve the dispute, the Researcher(s) and/or Student(s) must bring forward the complaint that forms the basis of the dispute to the Vice-Principal (Research). The Vice-Principal Research or their delegate will apply the following required procedures:

          a.    The complaint must be in writing, signed and dated, and contain any evidence regarding the matters in dispute.
          b.    The Vice-Principal Research or their delegate will endeavor to undertake the review and assessment of the complaint by meeting         separately with the Researcher(s) and/or Student(s) within 20 working days.
          c.    The Vice-Principal Research or their delegate will maintain appropriate confidentiality of the review and assessment process at all phases but may communicate with administrators, witnesses and external agency representatives, as they determine is appropriate to the conduct of a full and fair review and assessment.
          d.    The University has the responsibility for putting in place appropriate protections for all complainants and witnesses, and when determining appropriate protections in a given case must be especially mindful of the needs of those complainants and witnesses who may be vulnerable due to an imbalance of power between them and any of the disputants; for example, when a junior researcher, student or staff person is in a dispute with a senior researcher.
          e.    Based on all information gathered during the initial assessment process by the Vice Principal Research or their delegate, the Vice-Principal Research will offer a written recommendation on how the dispute can be resolved.
          f.    When a dispute involves the Vice Principal Research, the Researcher(s) and/or Student(s) will bring their complaint to the Provost who will be responsible for managing the resolution under these circumstances.

  • Mediation - If the preceding steps do not yield a resolution to the dispute that is acceptable to the Researcher(s) and/or Student(s), the Researcher(s) and/or Student(s) and the University shall, by mutual agreement, identify and engage the services of an independent mediator to assist the Researcher(s) and/or Student(s) to resolve the dispute.  If mediation is not successful, it is assumed that the relevant parties would likely seek legal action.

The above processes shall remain applicable to parties in a dispute who were a Researcher, Staff or Student at the time the circumstances for the dispute arose.

Related Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines

Intellectual Property Commercialization Policy

Commercialization of Applicable Inventions Procedure

Table Summarizing Policy Guideline

Formation of a Startup to Commercialize Applicable Inventions Guideline

Policies Superseded by the Procedure

In the event of a conflict between the provisions of the aforementioned Procedure and the provisions of any current and/or future collective agreement covering a Researcher(s), Student(s), and/or Staff, the applicable collective agreement shall govern to the extent of the conflict.


Responsible Officer: Vice-Principal, Research

Contact: Assistant Vice-Principal (Partnerships and Innovation)

Date for Next Review: 2027