Resistance is futile: all paths lead to co-ownership of IP

Golden oldie number something – comments on co-ownership of IP

IP Draughts

You have probably encountered this scenario.  A university, a small company and a large company are engaged in a research collaboration.  The parties have entered into a written collaboration agreement.  As one might expect, the agreement addresses the question of which of them will own any intellectual property arising from the collaboration, which is defined as Foreground IP.

During the negotiation of the agreement, various proposals were made on the ownership of Foreground IP.  The university suggested that a party would own any IP in improvements of the technology that it brought to the collaboration.  Unfortunately the parties couldn’t agree what would happen if the improvement related to more than one party’s technology.  The large company suggested that it would own all the Foreground IP and license the other two parties.  The small company’s investors wouldn’t accept this solution.  The small company suggested that the three parties should be joint…

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