According to the New York Times, four leading technology companies and seven American universities have agreed on principles for making software developed in collaborative projects freely available.
It’s a story that dates back to the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which allowed universities to hold the patents on federally funded research and to license that intellectual property to industry.
Since then the legal wrangling over intellectual property rights in research projects involving universities and companies, specialists say, can take more than a year. Althought experts don’t this this legal maneuvering slows the pace of innovation, but does prompt some companies to seek university research partners in other countries.
The companies involved in the agreement, which will be announced today, are I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Cisco. The educational partners are the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the universities of Stanford, California at Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Illinois and Texas.
Peter A. Freeman, assistant director for computer and information science and engineering at the National Science Foundation, came up with today’s best quote: “’It’s the science, stupid.’ It’s not the intellectual property.”