Faculty, Staff, Visitors Must Sign Patent Agreement
UC EMPLOYEES, VISITING professors, researchers, and others who use UC research facilities or resources are required to sign an amendment to the patent document they signed when first joining UC.
Beginning last month, more than 200,000 UC personnel are receiving emails from vendor VR Election Services (VRES), asking them to electronically sign the amendment. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory employees will not participate in the amendment process because a similar project is already underway at the Lab.
UC embarked on this project following recent court decisions in a Stanford lawsuit that put the university’s rights to patents and inventions at risk.
As a result of the court rulings, a provision in the university’s Patent Acknowledgement of Agreement — which is signed by all employees and others who use UC research facilities or receive gift, grant, or contract funds through UC — no longer guarantees the effective assignment of rights to UC as intended.
To remedy the situation, UC employees and visitors with UC e-mail addresses will receive a message from VRES with a copy of the amendment and directions for signing it. Personnel without UC email addresses will receive the material via U.S. mail.
The e-mail campaign will continue through February 29, with e-mail reminders sent throughout the three-month period.
“Signing this amendment will allow the university to meet its intellectual property obligations, accept sponsored research funding, and establish relationships with outside partners,” said Lawrence Pitts, UC provost and executive vice president of academic affairs.
Researchers, in particular, should be aware that it is necessary to sign the amendment in order to participate in activities covered by the agreement in which the university has made a legal commitment regarding inventions.
The patent amendment does not change UC’s Patent Policy or an individual’s rights and entitlements regarding intellectual property with which he or she is associated.