University Patent Policies

15 November 2007 by Troy McConaghy, posted in Uncategorized

Last week, I interviewed Mario Ioannidis about the University of Waterloo’s Nanotechnology Engineering Program (the first undergraduate degree program of its kind in Canada). He’s the director of that program. The interview was broadcast live into Second Life, where the audience could chat and ask their own questions. You can listen to the whole interview over at the NanoLands website.

The University of Waterloo is something of an anomaly in Canada. According to their website, “More Canadian high-tech and knowledge-based spin-off companies trace their roots to the University of Waterloo than to any other school [in Canada].”

Near the end of the interview, I asked Mario why Waterloo is so special. He said that one reason might be that Waterloo gives its professors the option to retain ownership of patents (not a direct quote and I am not a lawyer so excuse me if I’m wording this wrong).

How do other universities divy up ownership of patents? Why? Feel free to post in the comments below.

One Response to “University Patent Policies”

  1. john wilbanks | Permalink

    In my personal experience, many (probably most) universities have a policy that if a patent is derived from the use of “university resources” that the patent is owned by the professor but is licensed to the university. Thus, the prof is the “owner” in a narrow technical sense but the university has the exclusive right to monetize the patent. The prof usually gets a pretty nice cut of any licensing revenues that come out of the university TTO’s work to monetize the patent.


Comments are closed.