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Author Topic: A personal intellectual property problem  (Read 3024 times)

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YixilTesiphon

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A personal intellectual property problem
« on: July 14, 2010, 10:18:53 AM »

So, last night, I couldn't sleep for shit, so I sketched up an idea I had that I believe could result in an elegant solution to some problems with solar energy. Whatever. Problem is, I'm a grad student at Rice University, which has the following rule:
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In line with federal regulations and Rice’s IP Policy, new inventions must be disclosed to the Office of Technology Transfer for review. If you are unsure that your idea qualifies as an invention or want more information on how to decide when to disclose, you may request an evaluation by emailing our office at (email).

Said Office of Technology Transfer then markets any ideas I might come up with to industry, and hopefully I get a cut if it works out. I'm forbidden from taking this idea to market myself, and I'm also forbidden from deciding not to patent it and try to make money by putting it out there first. So, is there no libertarian way out of this situation?
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ForumTroll

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2010, 10:27:04 AM »

I think this means inventions created using the school's equipment/resources/money/property. Not for any old thought in your head.
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YixilTesiphon

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2010, 10:31:25 AM »

I think this means inventions created using the school's equipment/resources/money/property. Not for any old thought in your head.

Perhaps, but that's not my impression, and on their submission form it's apparent that things that remain completely conceptual are still items of interest, and that they need not be related to whatever grant's paying you at the moment, or any one in the past. I've sent them an email asking what the deal in this situation is.
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AntonLee

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2010, 11:01:57 AM »

how much longer are you a student there?  Is it possible you can hold onto this idea until you are no longer under their control (not saying that in a mean way).

possible for you to tell your idea to someone else who could put it to market themselves? 
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blackie

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2010, 11:07:23 AM »

Your wife came up the the idea, not you.  :wink:

What kind of agreement did you sign in order to get the grant?

The employment agreement I signed 10 years ago pretty much gives away the rights to my soul. Any IP I create while employed by them, and for a year after, belongs to my employer. It doesn't matter what that idea is related to.

 
« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 11:15:05 AM by blackie »
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YixilTesiphon

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2010, 11:10:33 AM »

how much longer are you a student there?  Is it possible you can hold onto this idea until you are no longer under their control (not saying that in a mean way).

possible for you to tell your idea to someone else who could put it to market themselves? 

For five more years, probably. I considered these things - giving the idea to my dad or to my wife, but it would (1) involve breaking a contract I signed voluntarily and (2) if found out my reputation and career would be ruined.
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John Shaw

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2010, 11:12:59 AM »

Hold onto the idea and hope no one else comes up with the same thing, or attribute credit for the idea to someone you can trust.

I say this as someone who lost two years of work and close to fifteen years of career from the exact same circumstances.

I spent almost two years and $30,000 of my own money on a film project only to have it stolen from me and sold for a profit by my school. I gave up filmmaking after the resulting multi-year legal battle.

Do not get fucked.
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blackie

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2010, 11:13:57 AM »

http://professor.rice.edu/professor/Patent_and_Software_Policies.asp

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Individual Efforts

Patent rights to inventions made by individuals on their own time and without the use of University resources belong to the inventor. In such cases the University shall make no claim on royalties.
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anarchir

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2010, 11:16:01 AM »

Have you also tried talking to the dean or whoever's in charge? I bet you could work out a deal where you make a new contract.
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YixilTesiphon

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2010, 11:27:31 AM »

http://professor.rice.edu/professor/Patent_and_Software_Policies.asp

Quote
Individual Efforts

Patent rights to inventions made by individuals on their own time and without the use of University resources belong to the inventor. In such cases the University shall make no claim on royalties.

Oh, well, score. Thanks. Shouldn't have assumed I was locked in.
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Cognitive Dissident

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2010, 01:07:10 PM »

A buddy had the same issue, where I worked, and I benefited from learning from it.  Corporations, which includes schools and large companies, somehow think it's moral and productive to claim to own the ideas of someone who develops them while working in their midst.  I call bullshit.* 

However, they have attorneys they already waste money on.  I think the best policy is not to say anything.  If you develop a really good idea, separate from them and claim they had nothing to do with it.  Do what you can to hide any implication that there's a connection.  The worst thing you can do is "discuss" it with anyone in the corporation. 


*Obviously, there are times when they would seem to own (under current law) what you "think up."  This would be when it applies directly to the subject matter you're working on, solving the same problems, for the same purposes, etc.  You probably can't win in this situation.
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Ecolitan

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2010, 01:36:06 PM »

I think this means inventions created using the school's equipment/resources/money/property. Not for any old thought in your head.

In theory but academia is famous for this shit, if his idea makes money they'll use dozens of tax-funded lawyers to get a piece or more likely all of it.  Better off to tell the whole world for free, you still won't make any money but you'll get the recognition, you'd be in better shape than Shaw.
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YixilTesiphon

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2010, 01:38:51 PM »

I think this means inventions created using the school's equipment/resources/money/property. Not for any old thought in your head.

In theory but academia is famous for this shit, if his idea makes money they'll use dozens of tax-funded lawyers to get a piece or more likely all of it.  Better off to tell the whole world for free, you still won't make any money but you'll get the recognition, you'd be in better shape than Shaw.

Well, I get 37.5% after their out-of-pocket costs are covered. So that's not too bad, but as this isn't part of my research I don't think they can lay claim to it (but I know universities have a major asshole reputation about this stuff).
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davann

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2010, 06:14:57 PM »

I think this means inventions created using the school's equipment/resources/money/property. Not for any old thought in your head.

In theory but academia is famous for this shit, if his idea makes money they'll use dozens of tax-funded lawyers to get a piece or more likely all of it.  Better off to tell the whole world for free, you still won't make any money but you'll get the recognition, you'd be in better shape than Shaw.

Well, I get 37.5% after their out-of-pocket costs are covered. So that's not too bad, but as this isn't part of my research I don't think they can lay claim to it (but I know universities have a major asshole reputation about this stuff).

If you have to use the schools equipment to develop the idea take the 37.5% and disclose everything. You will come up with many more ideas in the future. That is not a bad return if the school is fronting the costs on equipment and promoting.
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YixilTesiphon

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Re: A personal intellectual property problem
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2010, 07:44:26 PM »

I think this means inventions created using the school's equipment/resources/money/property. Not for any old thought in your head.

In theory but academia is famous for this shit, if his idea makes money they'll use dozens of tax-funded lawyers to get a piece or more likely all of it.  Better off to tell the whole world for free, you still won't make any money but you'll get the recognition, you'd be in better shape than Shaw.

Well, I get 37.5% after their out-of-pocket costs are covered. So that's not too bad, but as this isn't part of my research I don't think they can lay claim to it (but I know universities have a major asshole reputation about this stuff).

If you have to use the schools equipment to develop the idea take the 37.5% and disclose everything. You will come up with many more ideas in the future. That is not a bad return if the school is fronting the costs on equipment and promoting.


Yeah, and taking all the risk of filing the patent, etc. It's not bad, and by my grad student agreement I'm prevented from having an actual job outside of school, so it's not like I could market it myself - I'd have to get the patent together, hire the patent attorney, and find a company to license it to.
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