The primary tasks of universities and research institutions (PROs) are education and research, based on open dissemination and making results freely available to the public. An additional responsibility of these institutions is the valuation of economically interesting research results. An active technology transfer and intellectual property management will see the institution's work put to effective use for the public through collaboration with existing companies or with start-up/spin-off firms.
Therefore, the universities and research institutions are interested in cooperating with private enterprise and support their staff in their pursuit of such collaborations. The different objectives of these institutions and private enterprise must be taken adequately into consideration when defining mutual projects and in technology transfer. The following principles have been set up to provide guidance on such issues.
1. Partnership Relations with Private Enterprises
The cooperation between private enterprise and PROs rests on the basis of partnership. The diversity of different projects is taken into account by means of a flexible procedure suited to each separate project.
2. Protection of Intellectual Property
PROs recognize the significance of the protection of intellectual property and the resulting intellectual property rights for the later commercialization of research results. They make efforts, out of their own responsibility, or together with the cooperation partners, to obtain adequate protection of research results in that they patent economically interesting results or protect them in another suitable way.
3. Freedom of Publication
The publication of scientifically interesting research results is a central task of PROs. Through this, the advancement of their academic junior staff is ensured, and the positioning in international competition is guaranteed. Before publication, adequate time for the preparation and submission of a patent application can be provided thus enabling the future economic realization of research results.
4. Rights to Intellectual Property
Research results made by PRO's staff during their research activity are owned by the PROs (according to existing laws). The rights of the partners to results which are acquired during collaborations are stipulated by contract.
The universities lay down guidelines regarding authorization of, and right to sign contracts.
6. Sharing Economic Success
PROs are entitled to an appropriate financial share of the revenues generated by the cooperation partner through commercialization of the intellectual property rights. The contributions of each partner are taken into account. A share of returns is allocated to the involved scientists and their institutes.
7. Conflicts of Interests
In the cooperation between PROs and external partners, conflicts of interests may arise which result from the different tasks and aims of the partners participating. In order to avoid or recognize at an early stage such conflicts of interests, a clear separation between the rights and duties of the partners involved, and transparency in the collaboration are essential. To govern conflicts of interests, the PROs issue suitable internal guidelines and define further appropriate measures.