The Takeaway from All of This
IP Advocate: Can you sum this up for our readers?
Dr. Barnett: Sure - Federally supported inventions are meant to be deployed in support of public purposes. There are many ways to do it. Today we explored a tiny bit of the space. Changes in world research and investment economies mean it's not business as usual in the US. Changes need to be made in university innovation practice to diversify it, not to fix it or replace one autocratic system with another. University research and IP officers may see this as a criticism. They believe they are doing everything possible to implement best practices and do their professional best. All true.
It's just that the values that got you to this point of efficiency may not be the best ones to support you when times are changing. It's all very plausible for lemmings, until they reach the cliff. Even for self-interested reasons, universities should be reaching out for new strategies to extend their reach into community. Given the pull out by state governments in support of public research universities, especially, state schools should be deploying IP to win friends and build collaborations. Instead, we see business as usual in IP licensing. It's not a good leading indicator for IP management.
IP Advocate: Any advice to universities about how to step up?
Dr. Barnett: Recognize what you are - a steward - and change your policy and practice behaviors accordingly.
Dr. Gerald Barnett is a thought leader in the arena of intellectual property and commercialization. He is a frequent contributor to multiple IP blogs and publications and has appeared as a Guest Expert on IPAO's Expert Opinion Forum.