PraxisUnico: Comments on Hermann Hauser's criticism of Cambridge University


 21 October 2011

As reported in the Cambridge News this week, Hermann Hauser has criticised Cambridge University for putting off would-be entrepreneurs because it wants to charge too much for the intellectual property rights on research (see here)

Herman Hauser raises an interesting point with regard to a philanthropic model of Technology Transfer.  The Cambridge Enterprise response demonstrates its increasingly pragmatic perspective, which mirrors what is developing across the sector. This development reflects a series of small, subtle changes over recent years.  Together they add up to an increasingly mature approach to IP transactions, recognising a university's public benefit commitment to get research into use.  A variation on the philanthropic model is already being developed by Glasgow, Bristol and King's College under the Easy Access IP model which was recently highlighted at Innovate 11.  This reflects a move from a tightly closed approach to innovation to one which is much more open.  The challenge is: the world we live in is an increasingly regulated one with obligations relating to safeguarding a charity's assets, which consequently result in more complex legal transactions.

We would like to see an increasing move towards the development of trust.  If researchers could trust industry to remember where the idea came from and honour the philosophical principles espoused by Hauser we may well see a better simpler world.  The test is one not just for universities and their Technology Transfer Offices but also for industry.

Dr Douglas Robertson, PraxisUnico Chair, on behalf of the PraxisUnico Board.