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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M seeks to standardize copyright policy

 

 

Texas A&M will see a change in rules regarding copyright policy for inventions and other materials if a proposed Intellectual Property Management and Commercialization Policy is enacted.
A&M faculty gathered Friday afternoon at an open forum to give their input concerning the proposed change. The forum was requested by Texas A&M President Robert M. Gates.
Guidelines are not specific regarding which materials the updated system policy will cover. Intellectual property can range from professors’ lecture notes to various inventions and scientific innovations.
Until 2006, each member of the Texas A&M University System had a separate policy regarding commercialization and intellectual property. In January, however, the System Technology and Commercialization Organization was created to combine system members under a single policy.
A central policy is necessary to eliminate misunderstandings about intellectual property and commercialization regulations, said Jim Sacchettini, the moderator and a professor of biochemistry and biophysics.
“When we have a system-wide policy, then we know it’s a level playing ground,” Sacchettini said. “Just overall governance (for the policy) is very similar to (the policy at the) University of Michigan.”
The proposed change results from growing burden on universities to come up with funding, said Patrick Burkart, assistant professor of communications.
“I would say, in general, universities are considered increasingly to be profit centers for the state treasury,” Burkart said. “Public institutions are under pressure to cut budgets and generate revenue and this is an expression of that.”
Faculty members discussed ideas for improving the proposed policy but some agreed that provisions should be made to allow inventors leverage in how their innovations are marketed and used.
“I think the major thing is that the inventor, which is usually going to be a faculty member, participates in the process,” Sacchettini said. “We don’t claim to always be business people, but we do want to participate”.
Burkart said he believes alterations to the policy will affect students because student research will be subject to the new policy.
“Students are innovators at this University,” Burkart said. “Frequently they do it on their own, frequently they do it with their professors and, under the proposed rules, they would be subject to the same requirements as faculty and staff.”

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