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Tongji moves to protect its bright ideas

TONGJI University plans to protect its intellectual property rights by forming a committee to evaluate the commercialization of its scientific research results.

The university will try out the idea in its college of life science, where research results are picked up by companies and turned into industrial products, university officials said at the recent Bayer-Tongji IPR Forum.

Scientists, market developers and legal experts will sit on the committee. The university said it was difficult to protect the rights of its scientific researchers because so little was known about the market value of their achievements.

The committee will evaluate the research results and follow the profits made from the university's inventions.

According to statistics from the Shanghai Higher People's Court, local courts have accepted 22 cases concerning disputes between colleges and companies since 2006, less than 1 percent of the total cases accepted by local courts.

The small number doesn't mean cooperation is smooth between colleges and companies – it just means colleges aren't aware of how to protect their intellectual property rights, academicians said.

Lothar Steiling, chairman of the German Association of Intellectual Property Experts, suggested that colleges must specify details about its rights in expected and unexpected results when signing cooperative contracts with companies.


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