Right: university researchers try to create a new policy for IP exploitation under laboratory conditions
IP Finance has received this note from Professor Ruth Soetendorp, Associate Director of Bournemouth University's Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM):
My concern is that different IP rights should be recognised as being of quite a different nature and that they should not be lumped together. For as long as policy-makers persist in talking about IP rather than sector-specific creation and exploitation of legally unique rights, they will continue to miss the mark.
"Prof Paul Wellings reported last week on IP management and UK universities. His report, which examines intellectual property and universities, is one of a number commissioned by John Denham, Secretary of State for the Department of Innovation, University and Skills. The successful creation, management and (commercial) use of intellectual property created by members of the academic and research community are goals shared by government and institutions. Wellings identifies barriers to achieving that goal:
(a) an overemphasis on IP when universities and businesses work together on collaborative research projects;
(b) a lack of clarity on the primary aims of collaborative research (i.e. is it to generate income for the university, or a wider benefit for the economy?) and
(c) a rather variable implementation of good practice in negotiation.
His suggested means of surmounting those barriers include:
* DIUS to make a clear statement about the purpose of research commercialisation;
* Her Majesty's Treasury to continue the 'Roberts Funding' for postgraduate students and post-doctoral researchers to acquire additional transferable skills, including commercialisation of research, which covers IP awareness and competence;
* Universities to ensure their IP policies do not act as a disincentive for enterprise development.
Other recommendations highlight the importance of good working relationships within universities and research institutions, between their senior management and their knowledge (or technology) transfer offices, including
* Identification, exploitation and protection of IP to be promoted with a view to maximising socio-economic benefits;
* Appropriate incentives to be provided to help staff play an active role in IP creation and exploitation;
* IP management procedures to be published;
* Resources to be pooled at local or regional levels to build knowledge transfer critical mass.
Of concern to this writer is that the report contains the recommendation that "students to be properly informed (about intellectual property concepts) before assigning IP ownership to their institution", while falling short of suggesting exactly HOW students might be 'properly informed' on IP matters".