The process of reaching agreement between research institutions, industry and government in the research and development (R&D) space can be fraught. Cultural clashes, conflicting priorities and inflexibility often cause protracted negotiations and suboptimal outcomes. The treatment of intellectual property is often a particular point of disagreement, with ownership, use rights and pre-existing IP regularly proving contentious.
The key role of IP as a roadblock was recognised in submissions to the Commonwealth’s introductory consultation on university research commercialisation, which closed in April 2021. The Commonwealth is responding to those submissions by proposing a Higher Education Research Commercialisation IP (HERC IP) Framework. This would implement a comprehensive suite of standardised agreement templates, clause banks and guidance for use by parties to R&D and commercialisation.
The Commonwealth’s intention is that these standardised forms will be mandatory for arrangements relating to projects funded by Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) from the first half of 2022 and Australian Research Council (ARC) grant-funded projects from January 2023. There will be very few variables permitted in simple bilateral arrangements with a value under $100,000. Multi-party, higher value or more complex arrangements will be allowed more flexibility.
The plan is then to expand the framework to other Commonwealth departments, publicly funded research agencies and rural research and development corporations, as well as making the framework available for anyone to use in other contexts if they choose.
HWL Ebsworth’s IP and Technology team is experienced in assisting clients navigating R&D and commercialisation arrangements. Please contact us if we can assist you to draft a submission to the HERC IP Framework consultation or support your R&D or commercialisation activities.
This article was written by Luke Dale, Partner and Nikki Macor Heath, Senior Associate.