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Departing Faculty: How to Protect University IP, Avoid Legal Disputes, and Preserve Funding

Format: On-Demand Video, DVD, or PDF Transcript
Originally presented: August 09, 2016

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Departing Faculty: How to Protect University IP, Avoid Legal Disputes, and Preserve FundingIf your university, particularly your technology transfer office, doesn’t properly manage researcher departures, you could be putting your IP and research partnerships in jeopardy – and inviting legal disputes down the road.

Faculty members typically enjoy a tremendous amount of freedom when it comes to the direction of their research. But when it comes to IP, faculty often must be reminded that they are much less like independent investigators and more like university employees, whose IP is owned by the university that enabled it.

This sensitive issue becomes more complicated – and fraught with IP and legal implications — when faculty members either move to a new institution or move from academia to industry, particularly where there is sponsored research that relates to the move. And since researchers tend to change institutions fairly often, many universities do their best to craft policies and develop procedures to ensure researcher departures don’t have a negative impact on IP or future funding.

All too often, however, these steps are either not followed, not complete, or not well-developed, leaving the researcher’s IP and associated funding at considerable risk – and leading to legal wrangling that ties up resources, reflects poorly on the institution, and can wreak havoc on critical faculty relationships.

That’s why we’ve invited expert IP attorney Sandra L. Haberny, PhD, with Irell & Manella LLP, to lead you through a detailed review of best-practice policies and procedures for handling faculty departures, as well as provide critical guidance that will help protect your university’s IP, avert legal disputes, and preserve sponsored research funding.

Departing Faculty: How to Protect University IP, Avoid Legal Disputes, and Preserve Funding

Here’s what Dr. Haberny will cover in this practical program:

  • Review of recent legal cases and their outcomes
  • Fine tuning your policies related to classes of departures such as:
    • faculty departing to another institution
    • faculty departing to industry
    • departures when sponsored research is at stake
  • Due diligence related to:
    • Disclosure of all research by new and departing faculty
    • Interviews with faculty members to ensure all research is properly disclosed
    • Determining how future research relates to prior research
    • Research grants and determining scope of research projects and potential for future IP rights
  • Coordinating with sponsored research office, human resources, and general counsel’s offices
  • Best practice guidelines for obtaining written agreement when:
    • faculty member expressly identifies certain projects as “works for hire”
    • disclosure of any future IP rights that may implicate work done at the institution
  • Dealing with concerns of research sponsors
  • Inter-institutional agreements that offer transparency regarding relevant invention disclosures to deal with overlapping subject matter before it becomes a problem

PLUS! Follow along with the recorded Q&A portion of the program.

Meet your expert

Sandra L. HabernySandra L. Haberny, PhD, is a senior associate in the Newport Beach office of Irell & Manella LLP, where she is a member of the firm’s litigation and IP litigation practice groups. Dr. Haberny has extensive experience representing clients in a variety of commercial and patent litigation matters in both state and federal court. Her clients span numerous industries, including biotech, pharmaceutical, energy, and higher education, and her practice covers multiple areas of law including patent litigation and complex business litigation.

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