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Univ. of Missouri eyes changing intellectual property rules

COLUMBIA (AP) — The University of Missouri System is considering changes its rules on intellectual property in an effort to boost entrepreneurial research.

Hank Foley, the newly hired executive vice president for academic affairs at the four-campus system, discussed ways to promote entrepreneurialism at last week’s Board of Curators meeting in Columbia. That includes possible changes to how the system licenses intellectual property.

Current policy stipulates the university — as the employer and as representative of the people of the state — owns and controls of any invention or plant variety developed in the course of an employee’s service.

Foley, who came to the UM System from Penn State University, steps into a new job created to oversee campus academic functions as well as research and economic development efforts. Those had previously been the province of separate administrators.

At Penn State, a review of seven years of data found that the university only received $80,000 from four licenses, and that came from nearly 1,300 invention disclosures, Foley told curators. When Penn State changed the rules, the university saw growth in research.

Missouri University of Science & Technology Chancellor Cheryl Schrader noted the governing board agreed last year to allow individual campuses to determine intellectual property ownership under certain circumstances rather than have a one-size-fits-all rule.

“The idea is we don’t negotiate every single agreement that comes through,” she said.

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