Commercial Partnerships and CGIAR Centers - Pros and Cons for IP Management

15 October 2014, CGIAR Master Class, Kathryn Adams

The CGIAR IA Principles mandate that CGIAR funded research is globally accessible. Traditionally, global accessibility has been interpreted as making research results available in the public domain without any formal IP protection. However, as recognised by the IA principles, in certain limited circumstances, IP protection per se is not inconsistent with the CGIAR goal of global accessibility. In some cases, if CGIAR centers own the IP rights they have the exclusive right to choose how, to whom, and at what price the material will be made available. This may give centers better control over access rather than putting the material into the public domain where anyone may be able to commercialise the research and in so doing, limit access.

The challenge for CGIAR comes if the best means to make their research outputs publicly available is through a partnership with a commercial company. This will require a contract and it is the contract, not the IP rights, that may limit the centers ability to make the invention globally accessible.

This challenge has been recognised by CGIAR in the Principles for Management of Intellectual Assets, 2012, (the ‘IA Principles’) and the IA Implementation Guidelines, 2013 (‘the Guidelines’).

This master class looked at the IA Principles and particularly the IA Implementation Guidelines as they apply to commercial partnerships and some of the benefits and pitfalls that need to be overcome.


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