What is Easy Access IP?
Some university IP can be difficult to commercialise through traditional routes, either because it is at too early a stage in its development or because it presents too many uncertainties for companies to risk an investment. In these circumstances, such IP can be made available free of charge through our Easy Access IP Portfolio, using quick and simple one-page agreements, which allows companies to evaluate it and put it to use quickly, with reduced risk. This is Easy Access IP.
Why have you decided to offer some intellectual property (IP) for free?
We are open-innovation universities and we are committed to transferring as much IP into commercial use as we can to the benefit of our partners, the community and the economy. By allowing our partners to evaluate it and put it to use quickly, we increase the amount of knowledge we’re disseminating, and fulfill our mission as universities.
Will you still be offering IP opportunities that have licence fees and royalties?
Yes. Easy Access universities will continue to generate IP that is commercially mature or capable of further development before licensing. This IP will be protected and made available at commercial rates, as previously.
Is the IP in the Easy Access IP Portfolio completely free?
Yes. There is no upfront fee and we don’t ask for royalties, even if the technology makes money in the future. However, companies and individuals who license our Easy Access IP technologies will be required to acknowledge the university’s contribution and to report to us on progress.
How do you decide which IP should become part of the Easy Access IP portfolio?
We apply the usual principles of evaluation, and consider whether the IP will have more impact on the economy and society through the Easy Access IP Portfolio. If we identify a particular piece of IP as a potential candidate, we approach the academics and funders responsible for its development, and they decide if they would like it to be included in the portfolio or not.
Are you concerned that universities might risk missing out on future
We expect all IP to generate a return, however, because the Easy Access IP Portfolio contains IP that is difficult to commercialise through traditional routes, we choose to forgo an immediate, financial return in order to promote new partnerships which will benefit their universities in the long term.
Are you concerned that, by offering Easy Access IP in tough economic times, you’re removing a portion of income that universities badly need?
As universities, we have limited time and resources, and we must use them wisely to provide the greatest benefit to the economy and to society. By releasing some of our IP free of charge, we fulfil our mission and develop strong, long-term relationships with the companies who work with us.
Could free IP be perceived as lacking value?
University technology is often at a very early stage of development, and requires significant investment to release its inherent value, which may not be available internally. We’re confident that this point will be understood by potential investors who have a commercial interest in investigating new opportunities such as those offered by Easy Access IP.
Could potential licensees come to believe that all IP should be free?
There will still be an appetite to gain licensing opportunities which have obvious commercial potential by industry partners who are willing to make a financial commitment. For many potential investors, this is vital to the success of their business.
Does EAIP have an EU State Aid implication?
EAIP is openly available for licensing. To obtain a licence, potential licensees must submit a competitive proposal which is thoroughly reviewed before a licence can be granted. On this basis, legal advice has been that there is not a State Aid issue.
If there’s more than one company interested in licensing an Easy Access IP opportunity, how will you decide who should be granted the licence?
To decide on the most appropriate licensee, those interested need to tell us how they will use the IP to benefit the economy or society. We will select the proposal which offers the best return in this respect.
How do you track outcomes?
We will monitor developments as we do for revenue-bearing licences.