[LINK] IP Rights fight at Cambridge turns Orwellan over Microsoft

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Tue Jan 3 12:51:10 EST 2006

There has been a recent debate over who owns the IP produced by researchers 
at Cambridge University (UK). The creation of the Microsoft Research Lab in 
Cambridge seems to have brought the matter to a head, after several hundred 
years. The University administration is accused of rewriting history by 
changing the web report of a vote on the issue. See:

* IP Ballot - Vote for the Amendments! 
* Campaign for Cambridge Freedoms <http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/ccf-old.html>
* Should a Notice be Unpublished? <http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/ccf.html>

I came across this because something I wrote about Cambridge ended up being 
used in the debate. In 1996 I visited Cambridge University to see why they 
were so successful at turning research into products 
<http://www.tomw.net.au/nt/uk.html>. An ex-VC bought me lunch and 
recommended a report on R&D. I found a copy in the ANU library and typed up 
my own summary <http://www.tomw.net.au/nt/cp.html>. This summary is cited 
in the "Campaign for Cambridge Freedoms". I guess it was the only version 
of the report available on-line.

One thing I discovered was that after several hundred years in the R&D 
business, Cambridge University hadn't sorted out the intellectual property 
rights between the University, the academics and the R&D companies. Peter 
Hiscocks from the University of Cambridge Entrepreneurship Centre visited 
Australia in 2003 and said IP policy was to be clarified in the (then) next 
six months <http://mailman.anu.edu.au/pipermail/link/2003-July/051322.html>.
At the time this seemed like a good idea, but the creative confusion of not 
having a policy may have allowed for more creative approaches.

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                http://www.tomw.net.au/
Director, ACS Communications Tech Board   http://www.acs.org.au/ctb/
Visiting Fellow, ANU      Blog: http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/atom.xml  

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