The primary value of the relationship is in new knowledge generated by the research that benefits the university, the company, and the public, with the added value of training students to understand industrial R&D problems. If both parties can keep this in mind throughout the negotiation process, potential conflicts may be more easily resolved. All sides win if agreement can be reached.
To minimize difficulties in negotiation, the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable, in conjunction with the Industrial Research Institute (IRI), established the Task Force on Intellectual Property Rights in Industry-Sponsored University Research Agreements (see Appendix I ). The Task Force was directed to provide greater understanding of the framework of university-industry research relationships, given the diversity of attitudes and perceptions; clarify the issues and complexities related to intellectual property rights; identify and describe the key issues that make negotiations difficult; and suggest a “menu” of scenarios and contract language to handle the key issues—all in an attempt to minimize or avoid unnecessary difficulties in the negotiation of industry-sponsored university research agreements.
The Task Force chose to focus its analysis specifically on sponsorship by a single company of a single university investigator project, and collaborative research between an industry scientist and a university investigator. Issues particularly related to the licensing of technology outside of a research agreement (including licenses stemming from government-sponsored research), materials transfer agreements, clinical trials, multiple sponsorship, and consortia were not explicitly addressed.
The Task Force’s decision not to address these issues is not intended to minimize their importance. Although many of the issues related to multiple sponsorship and consortia and other types of relationships are the same as those considered here, these types of relationships may pose additional issues which are more complicated by the nature of the relationship. Addressing the unique features of each of these relationships is beyond the scope of this project.
The Task Force conducted its work in meetings, conference calls, and a workshop during which the input, questions, and comments of the broader community were solicited. (See a list of workshop participants in Appendix II .) Input was also sought from the IRI University Relations Committee and the IRI University Research