Simple, Clear Model University IP and Consulting Policies

That last post was no fun at all.  I hope you skipped it.  It just documents how bad stuff is so no one can feign that it looks pretty good, really.  No matter.  Perhaps long IP policies are doomed.  If they are long and consistent, they are too complicated and there are too many ways to mess up.  If they are long and a mess, then they are already messed up.

If we want to keep it simple, here are model policies that any university may adopt.  I’m pretty sure these really work! 

Intellectual Property Policy

The University will consider taking title to intellectual property when it is offered, or when it is required by a contract or operation of law.  If the University takes title, it will act as a trustee for the benefit of those for whom the intellectual property was acquired or improved.   In the case of assets such as inventions, works of authorship, and tangible materials that may be provided to industry for use or commercial sale, the Office of Technology Transfer or another agent may manage the asset.   Sharing of any royalty income or other compensation shall be arranged at the time the intellectual property is accepted for assignment.

Disputes shall be resolved by trial by dunk tank.  Each disputant gets three tosses at the other.  The winner is the one with the most dunks of the other after three rounds.

Consulting Policy

Faculty and staff may assist individuals, companies, governments, and other organizations.  Prior to entering into contracts to do so, faculty and staff will obtain approval from their supervisors.  A record of approvals will be kept by the Provost and will be available upon request for inspection.   Assistance under contract is limited to 13 days per quarter.   Assistance will not interfere with one’s University duties or disrupt the work of others at the University.

Disputes shall be resolved by the majority opinion in the comments section following a description of the dispute published in the on-line edition of the largest circulation newspaper within fifty miles of campus.   If the comments show no clear majority, the dunk tank method for intellectual property shall be used to reach a final decision.

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