Administrative Issues Journal


Intellectual property has become a highly coveted asset that can potentially reap a financial windfall for the owner who exploits its utility. Higher education has focused on the discovery of new knowledge, which can translate into intellectual property, but legislation, higher education policy, and/or contractual engagement may dictate ownership or opportunities for ownership of intellectual property by those involved in the discovery process. The dissemination of new knowledge acquired in the discovery of intellectual property may be limited for purposes of protection of commercial development. At the same time, higher education is becoming more involved in the oversight of technology transfer, oversight that includes seeking funding for academic research by private investors, licensing of intellectual property, and serving as a liaison for economic development for local communities. Because of the investment of time and resources in the development of intellectual property, a discovery may result in conflict over ownership, which may, in turn, lead to litigation. The complexity of the overall process of academic discovery moving into commercialization is fraught with challenges and potential conflict.