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Tech Transfer

Process for Conflict of Interest Review for Licensing at Berkeley Lab

Berkeley Lab manages the intellectual property created by its employees in support of its research and technology transfer goals.  The transfer of technology can include the licensing of inventions and other intellectual property and constitutes a business decision on the part of the University.  The Lab manages conflict of interest and the appearance of conflict of interest in licensing in accordance with California law 1 and the Operating Contract for the Lab 2.  The Laboratory employs a review process for every license, including a review of conflict of interest. The following describes the Lab process to manage potential conflicts of interest in licensing:

A.    Licensing Professional Disqualification

Berkeley Lab Licensing Professionals (LPs) who determine that they have a disqualifying personal financial interest in licensing decisions for a specific case will excuse themselves from case management responsibilities by notifying their supervisor. The supervisor will re-assign the case to another LP who does not have a disqualifying personal financial interest.

B.  Economic Disclosure by Inventors

Licensing Professionals at Berkeley Lab typically consult with one or more of the inventors of a technology during various points in the management of the case.  Technical explanation of the invention, underlying science, background, or existing state of the art, etc. are not generally interpreted as influencing a business decision.  However market evaluation, technology development plans, licensing terms, or licensee qualifications could be considered as influencing the business decision of the LP.  The LP will determine the appropriate level of inventor involvement in licensing for a particular invention.  In general, the role of the inventor in the licensing decision process will be kept to the minimum necessary to successfully achieve the Lab’s objectives in licensing inventions.  

Because of the Conflict of Interest requirements for the Laboratory, an economic disclosure by the inventor is required once the LP begins negotiation of a license with a company.  This disclosure is provided using form TT 100–LBNL. A copy of any positive disclosure will be provided to the LBNL Research Integrity Office. If sponsored research is a requirement of the license agreement, the LP will provide any positive dislcosure to the Sponsored Projects Office.

Economic disclosure is not required in the case of multiple non-exclusive licenses offered on identical terms to all licensees—such as with software licensed under a standard agreement.

C.  Review of Licenses Based on Economic Disclosure

Depending on the level of economic interest an inventor has, the licensing arrangement is reviewed as follows:


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Last updated: 09/17/2009