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Universities, Businesses Agree On Guidelines For IP, Shared Research

Team announces a new set of guidelines that will continue to encourage research sharing, while adding licensing terms and conditions.
The University-Industry Innovation Summit Team, which encourages businesses and universities to share collaborative research, has announced a new set of guidelines to protect intellectual property.

In 2005, summit members agreed on principles that make collaborative software development projects freely available to the open-source community. The summit team announced a new set of guidelines Wednesday that will continue to encourage research sharing, while adding licensing terms and conditions.

"In the past, there has been a 'one size fits all' approach on how we address these collaborations," Gina Poole, VP of university relations and innovation programs at IBM, said in a statement. "We are creating innovative new approaches to help negotiate collaborations, and the Free Participant Use Principles offer a solution to one specific research model."

Team members said that the new Free Participant Use Principles will speed products to market and provide a framework that will help negotiators focus on goals, rather than contracts. The guidelines are designed to weigh IT companies' and universities' policies and practices to determine appropriate licensing. They will be posted on the National Academies' University-Industry Demonstration Partnership site, the IBM university relations site, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation site.

Jilda Garton, associate vice provost for research and general manager for Georgia Tech Research, said the guidelines would help the university to work with companies on meaningful research.

"Georgia Tech participates in collaborative research activities in all forms across the research spectrum, and about 20% of that research is sponsored by corporations," she said in a statement.

Once collaborators agree on research goals, they can decide to make research results available to each other for free and to others for free or for "reasonable" fees. The principles don't define the types of research that can be conducted.

The summit team issued a statement acknowledging that the guidelines would enable collaboration for specific situations and address the needs of companies and universities in those situations, but the value of the principles extend beyond translation into a single agreement.

"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," Charles Carletta, secretary and general counsel for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, said in a statement. "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."

Juan M. Sanchez, VP for research at the University of Texas at Austin, and others involved said the principles will help universities and businesses compete globally.

The summit team consists of representatives from 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 Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.