Your source for expert commentary on IP management issues.
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Editor-in-Chief, Anatole Krattiger
Why This Topic Is Important
This section highlights for scientists the range of specific strategies and mechanisms that are being
employed to facilitate access to new technologies. These include both contract-based approaches, such
as specific licensing terms, and organizational approaches, such as open source innovation or nonprofit
product development partnerships. Scientists who are aware of these options can find creative ways to
put their inventions to work.
Key Implications and Best Practices: Section 2
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.
- As the inventor, in most circumstances, you can significantly influence how your technology is used. For example, you can very reasonably request that your technology transfer office draft license terms that reserve for you the rights to continue research using your inventions or terms that reserve the rights for humanitarian uses of your technology.
- Notwithstanding the above, you must follow the IP policies of your institution. And there is no reason a priori that your interests in licensing practices should not be reflected in your institutional IP policies. Changing them, if necessary, requires a dialogue with senior management and technology transfer personnel and a good understanding of the purpose of intellectual property and how sound IP management can be put to work for the benefit of the public sector.
- Your interest and activities in licensing and partnership building can raise the profile of your research program and also of your institution. It may create goodwill, catalyzing additional scientific and development interest by partner organizations and individuals. And it can lead to earlier and more efficient translation of your research findings into useful products or services.
- In particular, collaboration with private sector entities can be a most valuable contribution to your institution’s broader participation in innovative initiatives, particularly as it pertains to product development.
- The R&D work that you carry out in your program can often (perhaps serendipitously) lead to the invention of new research tools. But the patenting strategies for research tools may need to be different from those related to products if maximum dissemination and use are sought.
- One such avenue for research tools in particular may be open source licensing. This is a complex and evolving area in the biological sciences and requires further refinement to be effective and useful.
- Importantly, open source licensing is not the same as placing an invention into the public domain. open source entails contractual obligations. An open source license may be extremely complex and may require your institution to agree to certain obligations. Several universities are unable to sign such open source licenses because they cannot, in good faith, agree to the conditions. Make sure you always consult your technology transfer officers before signing any agreement.
- Increasingly contracts will include milestones, which may affect your work, although quite often not directly. Research schedules and goals may be directly linked to specific milestones, and you need to know how such milestones might influence your program.
- Accessing other people’s intellectual property can be facilitated through networks of committed professionals; your contributions in this area can be substantial, and strong professional networks will make you a more valued and essential member of the team.
Open Source Licensing
by Janet Hope
Using Milestones in Healthcare Product Licensing Deals to Ensure Access in Developing Countries
by Joachim Oehler