Robert Schmidt, of Cleveland Medical Devices, said that one barrier to collaboration was the Ohio code that controls rights to discoveries. This is interpreted differently by and within different universities, he said, but it is often considered to mean that any invention that grows out of an activity within a university, even the use of a library or a laboratory, would be owned by the university. He said this had sometimes prompted his company to takes its business outside Ohio to conduct testing rather than use instrumentation in an Ohio university that might thereby claim ownership. He asked whether this law could be revised so that cluster activity could be promoted.
Dr. Lefton said that in northeast Ohio virtually all universities have a liberal policy that encourages tech transfer by leaving a “piece of the action” to the original investigator and a little to the university, and fosters collaboration between either of them and private business. “I think you’ll be seeing a modernization of thinking within universities to allow for smoother tech transfer. It’s clearly part of Governor Kasich’s plan for universities, and also part of ours.”