Published on October 17, 2007
Structuring Science &Technology Collaborations:The Role &Perspective of aDeveloping Country University: Structuring Science & Technology Collaborations: The Role &Perspective of a Developing Country University Rosemary Wolson Intellectual Property Manager: UCT Innovation University of Cape Town +27-21-650-2425/+27-83-784-3648 [email protected] UCT Facts & Figures: UCT Facts & Figures SA’s oldest university ~20,000 students ~2,000 academic staff Research budget ZAR 360 million (~US$ 60 million) Research & Innovation Department UCT Innovation (contracts, IP, commercialisation) Faculties: Commerce (and Graduate School of Business) Engineering & the Built Environment Health Sciences Humanities Law Science Importance of Research Collaborations for UCT: Importance of Research Collaborations for UCT Funding Access to technology Access to complementary expertise Equipment Capacity-building Value adding Features of UCT’sResearch Collaborations: Features of UCT’s Research Collaborations Location of collaborator Local & international Type of collaborating organisation Academic, industry, government, ngo, igo, development agencies Stage of research Early stage to applied Nature of the outputs Innovative/cutting-edge science to ‘routine’ provision of services Funding Externally funded, co-funded, self-funded One Size Does Not Fit All…: One Size Does Not Fit All… Wide range of collaborators and diversity of relationships Different conditions attach Calls for a flexible approach Within certain policy parameters Proactive research management and support therefore critical to ensuring that both UCT and its collaborators derive benefit out of these relationships UCT’s Approach: UCT’s Approach What’s important to us might not be the same as what’s important to our collaborators But benefits for both parties can still be achieved Compromises are necessary Identify ‘dealbreakers’ for each party Requires clear policies, consistently applied If unacceptable – walk away If acceptable – reach common ground Most Common Causes of Dispute: Most Common Causes of Dispute Confidentiality & publication rights Distinguish between information received from other party & information generated in course of project Time-limited embargo on disclosure; right to review IP ownership, access & use Licensing preferred over assignment, but approach depends on circumstances Minimum condition: royalty-free, perpetual license to university for teaching & research – fto Avoiding Disputes: Avoiding Disputes Disputes more common during negotiation than in implementation Clear contracts that represent a true ‘meeting of minds’ Deliverables, budget, timelines Contracts signed off by university – but must be understood by the researchers concerned Dispute resolution provisions Developing Country Issues: Developing Country Issues Unequal collaborations - not taken seriously UCT inventors left off patent applications filed by overseas collaborator ‘Drudge work’ Resource constraints make for a poor bargaining position Can’t afford to walk away Limited capacity Choice of law and forum for dispute resolution Litigating overseas could bankrupt the institution! Biopiracy’ Plant material, tissue collections, clinical data PIIPA Proposal: PIIPA Proposal Public Interest Intellectual Property Advisors www.piipa.org Proposal for a Facilitation, Mediation & Dispute Resolution Network Focus on developing country IP issues, including traditional knowledge Design culturally appropriate negotiation process Facilitate negotiations Resolve disputes Is there a need? Appropriate partners – WIPO? Thank You!: Thank You!