IP ownership is one of the critical issues in sponsored research in university settings. Under most circumstances or unless otherwise specified, the Bayh-Dole Act allows that IP rights from government-sponsored research are owned by the university. What about industry-sponsored research?
Many universities have agreements in place specifying they own the IP rights stemming from faculty research, including industry-sponsored research. Feeling the policy was turning away potential collaborators and stifling innovation, Penn State has now opened up IP ownership from such research to negotiation.
Under the new rules, faculty inventors advise Penn State’s technology transfer professionals on ownership. VP for Research, Hank Foley, stated in a recent interview, “In the great preponderance of cases the faculty do not want us to ‘fight’ for the IP ownership, but in a few cases they may.”