University of Glasgow gives away software, patents, consulting

The University of Glasgow has launched its "Easy Access IP" project through which entrepreneurs can get free licenses to university patents, software and reports, and through which faculty will conduct free consulting — the only requirement is that recipients have to acknowledge that the university was the source of the technical knowledge and inventions.

This is an extremely cool and wonderful programme, but it took a lot of digging to find out what it actually entailed. I was thrown off by the repeated use of the terms "intellectual property" and "IP" in the program's description. Now, "IP" is a vague and contentious term at best — referring as it does to very different regimes from trade secrets to copyrights to trademarks to patents. But in this case, most of the university's "IP" isn't part of the program, and the stuff that's in the program is mostly not "IP." For example, the university's copyrights on scholarly papers and trademarks are not part of the program — but the program does include free consulting, which is fantastic, but isn't anything like "IP."

Which is not to take away from the extreme coolness of this project, and how great it is to see a university take affirmative steps to transfer its knowledge and expertise outside of its walls. But if there was ever a textbook case of "IP" obfuscating rather than clarifying, this is surely it.

University of Glasgow Principal Anton Muscatelli explained the rationale behind the move: "One of the core missions of the University is the creation, advancement and sharing of knowledge and we aim to transfer as much IP into commercial use as we can, to the benefit of our partners, the community and the economy. Our objective is to demonstrate the relevance, importance and impact of Glasgow's research and to help UK companies maximise their competitive edge internationally."

Free IP from the University of Glasgow is expected to be particularly attractive to small and medium-sized businesses. It is anticipated that the initiative will lead to further collaboration with companies and long-term industry partnerships.

Glasgow pioneers free Intellectual Property for industry (press release)

Easy Access IP Deals

(Thanks, AllyPally, via Submitterator!)