software ownership (56)

Sun, 12 Mar 89 23:45:50 EST

Humanist Mailing List, Vol. 2, No. 707. Sunday, 12 Mar 1989.

Date: Sun, 12 Mar 89 12:22 EDT
From: Joe Giampapa <GIAMPAPA@brandeis.bitnet>
Subject: incentives to patent

It has been a while since the last e-message on software ownership was
circulated. However, a newspaper clipping I just received adds another
dimension to the problem which I thought would interest others. It is in
paraphrased form, below.

"Disgruntled inventors urge new patent policy at Yale" by Abram Katz, Science
Editor for the New Haven Register (no date on clipping)

One of the most prominent computer scientists in the country, Roger C. Schank,
is likely to leave Yale's department of computer science for a post at
Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He is displeased over the way
Yale pushes for patents and licenses, according to faculty members and a
Northwestern official.

Yale researchers now can place their inventions in the public domain --- and
receive nothing --- or submit them to the Cooperative Research Office for
possible patenting. Patents can later be licensed to companies and converted
into commercial products.

Yale researchers now receive 30 percent of the profits from patented inventions,
as do their departments. The university gets 40 percent to buy equipment or
support further research.

Yale secured six patents in 1988, compared with 13 in 1987, according to Steven
Bertha, assistant director of the Cooperative Research Office. The university
earned about $500,000 in royalties and fees in 1987 from all its patents. No
figures were available on how much was earned in 1988.

By contrast, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology obtained 66 patents
last year, which led to 92 licenses, said Chris Jansen, licensing officer in
MIT's Technology Licensing Office.

MIT earned $6.9 million last year from all its patents, including those on
computer software. The licensing office takes 15 percent of the gross income.
The remainder is split into thirds between the inventor, his lab or department,
and MIT's general fund, Jansen said.

While MIT has six full-time staff members in its licensing office, Yale has
three. [...]

Anyone who wants to see the article in its entirety may send requests to