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Editor-in-Chief,   Anatole Krattiger

Editorial Board

Concept Foundation


Fiocruz, Brazil

bioDevelopments-   Institute

Institutional Policies and Strategies
Topic Guide for Policymakers

Why This Topic Is Important

While national policies shape the overall environment, innovation itself is carried out in and by institutions. It is, therefore, the development and implementation of institutional policies and strategies that most directly impact upon how innovations will emanate from your country’s public investments in R&D. This section provides an overview of the most important institutional policies in guiding the management of innovation and technology transfer while maintaining the integrity of research institutions’ core public missions of research and/or education.

Key Implications and Best Practices: Section 5

Given that IP management is heavily context specific, these Key Implications and Best Practices are intended as starting points to be adapted to specific needs and circumstances.

  • There is an ongoing debate over how IP systems can achieve the optimal balance between private rights and public benefits. However, experience suggests that IP rights systems, if soundly applied and used by the public sector as well as by the private sector, are better than any of the proposed alternatives in achieving public-goods objectives. Government policies can be instrumental in helping public sector institutions find the right balance.
  • As a specific requirement, public sector institutions should be required to develop and publish their institute-specific IP policies that adapt broader principles to the specific context of the institution’s mission and strategy. Such policies should include clear conflict-of-interest policies.
  • Incorporating the goals of dissemination of public-sector-generated R&D to benefit primarily the poorer segments of the population are goals that do not run counter to benefiting economically from inventions. Much will depend on the specific context and how these seemingly contradictory goals are managed.
  • Public sector institutions can achieve little with their intellectual property in the absence of an enforceable system for protecting and promoting local innovation that includes clear assignment rules regarding ownership of inventions.
  • A government may wish to analyze the interface between its laws governing charitable organizations and how the laws may impact the freedom of nonprofit institutions in owning and licensing both their own and third-party intellectual property.
  • Policymakers should consider the promotion of legislation that clarifies under what circumstances employees in the public sector, including those at universities, shall assign patent rights to their employers. This aspect has ramifications for statutory laws in many countries with respect to “hired to invent,” “shop-right,” and other matters.
  • Technology transfer and IP management are complex, requiring the creative input and participation of different professionals from varying fields of expertise. Therefore, it is important to recognize that investments in public sector education and training programs need to consider many aspects, including scientific, business and entrepreneurial, legal, judicial, and policy.

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