The UK government’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will revise its model agreement for university–industry collaboration. The move, which comes after 8 years of implementation, is driven by evidence that the model is too restrictive and does not support open innovation.
timetable has yet been set for the revision, but a recently formed working group is now working on it. The revision process would follow the model established when
the toolkit was first produced, with an Outer Working Group drawn from
industry, research, government and other interested parties.
The planned revision is supported by two reports the IPO commissioned into links between academia and industry. The first,“Collaborative Research between Business and Universities: The Lambert Toolkit 8 Years On”, carried out by the consultancy IP Pragmatics, was published in May. It reports that 72% of SMEs in its sample showed that SMEs are deterred from collaboration by the cost and time required for negotiation.
The second, “Collaborate to innovate”, which surveyed 200 businesses on their collaborations with universities, was carried out by the Big Innovation Centre, which is a collaboration between The Work Foundation and Lancaster University. It found that “Knowledge transfer is working well, but many are failing to exploit open innovation.” The report highlighted the role of “soft skills” in cementing partnerships –“trust” and non-disclosure agreements, rather than formal IP deals, came out as the most frequently cited mechanism for protecting intellectual property.