lighted in the preface of the book, is indeed the proper way to characterize the past decade and the larger set of changes that have occurred in industry-university relationships since at least 1980. Firms and universities have each adapted their behaviors to previous experiences in R&D partnerships and to each other’s evolving behaviors. Some of these experiences have been positive, others less so, and still others negative.
The specific issues affecting industry-university R&D relationships also have shifted over time. In the 1970s and 1980s, forums focused on cultural compatibility, timeliness of deliverables, and ivory tower syndromes. Present-day symposia center on disagreements relating to the monetary provisions of licenses and litigation about the ownership and validity of academic patents. Highly publicized and costly (for both winners and losers) university-industry patent suits (e.g., University of California and Eolas v. Microsoft; Florida State v. American BioScience) and the continuing legal dispute between the University of California and Microsoft now awaiting a second trial in the U.S. District Court about an earlier $521 million judgment on behalf of the university have changed the terms of the dialogue between the two sectors from how to consummate a courtship to how to live together in a generally mutually beneficial but at times fractious relationship
The controlling contemporary lesson from these experiences is the recognition by each sector of the need for an agreed-upon set of principles that would guide their future relationships. One example, occurring as this chapter is being written, is the statement of principles agreed to by four information technology companies (Cisco, HP, IMB, and Intel) and seven U.S. universities (Carnegie-Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Texas-Austin) to accelerate collaborative research on open source software. Additional activities aimed at establishing guiding principles are in progress. The Industrial Research Institute (IRI), representing R&D-intensive U.S. firms, and the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA), representing research universities, have formed a working partnership toward this end, with their work to be capped by a university-industry summit entitled “Re-engineering the Partnership.”
This chapter outlines the specific tensions in research agreements and technology transfer agreements that have led to the above endeavors. For beneath the aggregate national science indicators that point to viable, indeed robust, relationships in industrial funding of academic R&D and the outpouring of patents, licenses, license revenues, and startup firms proudly reported by university representatives, something is obviously not going well. The very title of the forthcoming IRI-NCURA summit is itself symptomatic of problems. As used in discussions of economic competitiveness, re-engineering implies some combina-