Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Cornell seeks to build upon early success of industry-friendly GateWay program


By David Schwartz
Published: January 28th, 2020

A little over a year ago, Cornell University launched a new initiative called “GateWay to Partnership.” The program, run through the university’s Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and developed in close cooperation with the Center for Technology Licensing (CTL), offers three distinct partnership options from which prospective partners can choose — each geared towards different types of relationships. The “industry-friendly” program includes the following options:

Level 1: Standard Terms. Company’s rights in project intellectual property include:

  • Non-exclusive, royalty free license (“NERF”) for internal research and development purposes.
  • Option to elect a field-specific NERF for commercial purposes when patent expenses are reimbursed.
  • Option to negotiate an exclusive commercial license, including the right to sublicense, for project intellectual property after it is created.

Level 2: Preset License Terms. For projects greater than $100K, Company’s rights in project intellectual property include:

  • The terms in Level 1, plus ability to elect the following preset key license terms:
    • a favorable royalty rate specific to the industry sector; and
    • capped license issue fees via an exclusive option to negotiate an exclusive license, including the right to sublicense.

Level 3: Pre-negotiated License Terms. For strategic partners and projects greater than $500K, Company’s rights in project intellectual property include:

  • NERF for internal research and development purposes.
  • Option to elect a field-specific NERF for commercial purposes.
  • Ability to pre-negotiate terms that are more comprehensive than the Level 2 Preset License Terms.

How have industry partners reacted to the program? “I think it has gone quite well,” says Mary-Margaret Klempa, director of OSP. “I have heard that just having the possibility of preset royalty rates and license terms opens up negotiations and establishes trust going forward. It makes relationships better in general.” She says that recent discussions with industry partners have confirmed that for her. “It changes the tenor of the conversation,” Klempa asserts.

Alice Li, PhD, CLP, executive director of CTL, agrees. “Even for agreements without GateWay terms, there is a benefit in negotiations,” she observes. “And with GateWay terms we’ve been able to finalize some agreements we would not have been able to do before.”

A detailed article on Cornell’s GateWay program appears in the January issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, click here.

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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