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Academia, IT Industry Leaders Create New Principles for Sharing Collaborative Research


To speed innovation and decrease the time to market for cutting-edge solutions and ideas, leading universities and information technology (IT) companies announced today a set of guiding principles for sharing intellectual property resulting from collaborative research.

The new Free Participant Use Principles are designed to provide a common starting point for discussions about collaboration in an industry where cross-licensing of technology is the norm, and rapid time to market is the business imperative. The ability to drive faster contract negotiations between universities and business will result in increased innovation and competitiveness -- for universities as well as business.

The principles document an additional model for handling the intellectual property rights that arise from collaborative research between industry and university participants. They will be useful in situations where the participants intend for the results to be available to each other without fee, and to be available to others on either a free or reasonable fee basis. Further, the principles do not define the types of research to be conducted. Use will be determined on a case-by-case basis once the research goals of the collaborators are agreed upon.

Companies and universities realize that these principles enable collaboration only for some specific situations and address business needs of companies and obligations that universities have in those situations. However, the value of the principles extends beyond translation into a single agreement. Consistent with other proposed collaboration strategies, these guiding principles will foster a higher level discussion. A discussion centered on goal identification and agreement, while also allowing institutions (universities and IT companies) to apply individual policies and practices across the spectrum of collaborative research models, providing another helpful tool allowing companies and universities to work together.

With a goal to improve collaboration and enable 21st century innovation, these principles were developed by members of the University-Industry Innovation Summit Team -- a group who together address IT intellectual property barriers. Complementing other organizations that address collaborative research across all industries, such as the National Academies’ University-Industry Demonstration Partnership, the Summit Team collaborators include Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of California at Berkeley, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, University of Texas at Austin, Cisco, HP, IBM (NYSE: IBM), Intel, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

University & Industry Support Quotes:

Beth Burnside, Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of California, Berkeley, said, “Berkeley is always pleased to enable faster and easier collaboration between our faculty and industry partners, as we share the goal of producing research that is optimally useful to the public. These principles provide a useful new tool to help us more quickly facilitate collaboration and confirm for universities and the information technology industry an option to use when engaging in collaborative research.”

“We applaud the University-Industry Innovation Summit team’s leadership in working to improve the innovative and collaborative environment so essential to maintaining the US competitive edge in today’s global marketplace,” said Pradeep Khosla, dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering.

“Georgia Tech participates in collaborative research activities in all forms across the research spectrum, and about 20 percent of that research is sponsored by corporations,” states Jilda Garton, Associate Vice Provost for Research and GTRC General Manager. “We are excited to help create new contracting process improvement tools which help both parties work together to produce meaningful research.”

“These principles enable organizations to reach agreement on how they envision the research results being used and then, if appropriate, guide the specific negotiations,” states Dr. Charles Zukoski, Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “They are another example of how we achieve our mission to lead, enable and support research initiatives, technology transfer and economic development for a globally competitive research university such as University of Illinois.”

“At Rensselaer we work with a diverse group of industries and need a variety of practices available to us to commence research based on the collaborative model being discussed and level of the partnership. These principles offer a new way to discuss intellectual property rights resulting from the research and offer us flexibility to use them independently and with other agreements,” states Charles Carletta, Secretary of the Institute and General Counsel for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

“We are pleased to endorse a set of collaborative principles that set the stage for a better understanding of the common interests of industry and universities. Beyond the principles themselves, the effort of the University-Industry Innovation Summit team is a clear indication that both industry and universities recognize that effective collaboration is key to the nation’s ability to innovate and to successfully compete globally,” said Juan M. Sanchez, Vice President for Research, The University of Texas at Austin.

“The Cisco Research Center is pleased that the Summit team has developed another set of principles for handling intellectual property that arises from collaborative research between universities and industry,” said Dr. Douglas Comer, Vice President of Research at Cisco Systems. “Collaboration between Cisco and universities is an integral part of our program to engage in meaningful research, and the principles help make such engagement more productive for both sides. The framework defined by the principles will enable university researchers to undertake projects that have greater potential impact, and we thank all members of the Summit team who worked to reach agreement.”

“There are many ways that universities and the IT industry collaborate,” said Gina Poole, Vice President, University Relations & Innovation Programs, IBM. “In the past, there has been a ’one size fits all’ approach on how we address these collaborations. We are creating innovative, new approaches to help negotiate collaborations, and the Free Participant Use principles offer a solution to one specific research model.”

Lesa Mitchell, Vice President, Advancing Innovation at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, states, “Research data would suggest that successful university-industry collaborations are essential to remaining competitive in our knowledge economy. The Kauffman Foundation is very supportive of initiatives such as these principles that foster these collaborations.”


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