disgusted with the situation they are now working with foreign universities, especially the elite institutions in France, Russia and China, which are more than willing to offer extremely favorable intellectual property terms. (September 17, 2002)41
These remarks from a leading industrial research manager suggest that for at least some U.S. firms, U.S. universities’ patent and licensing policies have become an impediment to collaboration rather than a facilitator of such collaboration, which remains essential to innovation in a U.S. economy that faces challenges from foreign nations with increased technological capabilities. In some cases, frictions between university licensing professionals and U.S firms reflect an unrealistic assessment by university personnel of the financial returns associated with “driving a hard bargain” in licensing terms for a single patent. In December 2005, in response to this criticism and other industry statements of dissatisfaction, four large IT firms (Cisco, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Intel) and six universities (Carnegie Mellon University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and University of Texas at Austin) agreed on a “statement of principles” for collaborative research on open-source software that emphasizes the liberal dissemination of the results of collaborative work funded by industrial firms.42
In 2007, a group of technology-licensing managers that included representatives from Stanford University; the California Institute of Technology (Caltech); the University of California, Berkeley; and other leading U.S. research universities as well as the Association of American Medical Colleges, issued a list titled “In the Public Interest: Nine Points to Consider in Licensing University Technology” that emphasized the importance of ensuring access to universities’ intellectual property in the public interest.43 Finally, the National Research Council (NRC) convened a committee of experts and practitioners from industry and academia to consider best practices in university technology licensing, and issued a report titled
41 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). 2002. Statement available at http://www.memagazine.org/contents/current/webonly/webex319.xhtml. Accessed April 2, 2005.
42 The “Open Collaboration Principles” cover “just one type of formal collaboration that can be used when appropriate and will co-exist with other models, such as sponsored research, consortia and other types of university/industry collaborations, where the results are intended to be proprietary or publicly disseminated.” According to the principles, “The intellectual property created in the collaboration [between industry and academic researchers] must be made available for commercial and academic use by every member of the public free of charge for use in open source software, software related industry standards, software interoperability and other publicly available programs as may be agreed to by the collaborating parties.” Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. 2006. Available at http://www.kauffman.org/pdf/open_collaboration_principles_12_05.pdf. Accessed October 17, 2012.
43 Association of University Technology Managers. 2007. “In the Public Interest: Nine Points to Consider in Licensing University Technology.” White paper. Available at http://www.autm.net/Nine_Points_to_Consider.htm. Accessed July 25, 2012.