U-I Relationship Models: The Penn State University

The Pennsylvania State University significantly changed its approach to managing intellectual property resulting from industry-sponsored research effective July 1,2012.  Ron Huss, Associate VP for Research and Technology Transfer and Director of the Office of Technology Management (OTM) at Penn State, said “we took a look at the outcomes of industry sponsored research over a 7 year period and determined that the procedures we had in place did not make sense for us to continue.”  

With this new approach a company sponsoring research has the option to re­quest ownership of Intellectual Property (IP) result­ing from a sponsored project.  Some key points to Penn State’s approach to Industry-Sponsored Research IP include:

  • Penn State will not seek to retain ownership of IP
  • Penn State will assign IP to sponsor upon request
  • Penn State has right to publish research results
  •  Penn State has right to practice IP for research and educational purposes
  • If Penn State research results lead to exceptional commercial success, sponsor agrees to share proportionally with Penn State
  • Exceptions considered on a case-by-case basis

In the event University background IP is required to practice newly developed IP, Penn State will negotiate an option or license to the background IP to the extent such rights are available.

“We are not saying this model is going to be right for everyone”, said Huss, “but after careful consideration, we felt it was right for us.  Since implementing it, we have seen backlogs ease in our Office of Sponsored Programs because they no longer have to deal with long drawn out negotiations over industry sponsored projects and the response we have received from our industry partners and our faculty alike has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The Deputy Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said a model like this “promises to help foster university-industry partnerships and strengthen America’s economic competitiveness


Join us on April 2nd: If you want to learn specifics about the The Penn State University program, please join us for the discussion via the University-Industry Model Review II web-workshop: please learn more here and join us for the event.

Showcase your U-I program: If you program would like to be added to these spotlights and showcased in future articles or if you are a institution or stakeholder interested in these approaches, please make yourself known here

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