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The hugely successful corporation, Google, was a spin off from research done for a PhD. thesis at Stanford, which makes looking at university research an attractive option. But if your business is considering working with IP that originates from a university, there are many questions to ask.

What role has the university played? Was it the incubator, the advisor, the developer? Will the start up be a spin off? Who owns the IP? What type of licensing will be put in place? Who will manage and maintain the patents? Who is responsible for indemnification in case of third party IP infringement suits? Will nondisclosure and non-compete agreements be put in place? The answers to these questions should establish a relationship that will justly reward both parties for their contributions, and encourage innovation and business success.

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Take away:

  • When collaborating with university researchers, be sure to understand who will own/license the background IP…along with the foreground, sideground and postground IP.


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