United front against Govt IP plan

The feds’ proposed intellectual property framework for university-industry research translation has two more hard nays 

The federal government wants a standard IP arrangement to commercialise research and has a proposal out for comment. Yesterday the Australian Technology Network suggested the proposal is not great (CMM September 19, September 22). Now two other major lobbies agree.

The Group of Eight warns a mandatory framework will be a “roadblock to engagement”

The Eight argue while some industry partners may welcome a standard set of rules, forcing them on all could upset existing arrangements and unsettle present and potential partners which would prefer arrangements that suit their circumstances.

Science and Technology Australia urges the Commonwealth to keep rules optional and understandable

“Using the IP Framework to establish minimum standards and a starting point for discussions between university and industry will ensure basic consistency. Any changes from standard guidance would need to be justified by both parties, but such flexibility is critical to ensuring effective outcomes for complex projects and technologies,” STA states in its submission to the proposed IP rules.

What’s next

The Government is said to want the IP toolkit to be ready when it announces the expected to be imminent research translation strategy. However, observers suggest that making it mandatory for contracts involving the Australian Research Council and Department of Education, Skills and Employment would require legislation.

Perhaps this could be managed by announcing the IP kit is coming and then changing the acts. But it is hard to imagine a better way of creating a Senate committee inquiry. And look where that got legislation to change the Research and Development Tax Incentive – which was nowhere.

With three peak research groups signalling adamant opposition to what is proposed it may be time for DESE to unleash the word-weasel and change “rules” to “advice.”