Subject: Re: ok, FSBs created schwag; now bet the farm on something better
From: "Jonathan S. Shapiro" <shap@eros-os.org>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 16:33:07 -0400

> I think most open source projects with university roots escape before
> the universities realize they have any value.
>
> Brian

Perhaps, but some of us re-enter....

There are multiple types of value. Two prominent sources of value are
reputation and impact. Universities are better able to turn these into
dollars than corporations, because they have an unusual asset (alumni,
donors) and an unusual financial model (asking for contributions). Neither
of these tools is available to for-profits in the usual case. Universities
use reputation results to say, in effect: "Look, your donation will have
impact. See what we have done with other funds we have received!" Also, few
people engaged in the charitable donation portion of estate planning are
looking for a return on investment.

We're actually handling the EROS work at Hopkins according to this logic. It
also helps that we can argue that a secure platform *needs* to be open to
achieve user confidence, and that we can point to a universal failure of
closed systems to achieve that kind of confidence among their users.

> > On Fri, Sep 21, 2001 at 11:01:31AM -0700, Don Marti wrote:
> > > Remember Bayh-Dole. US universities that accept government money
> > > _must_ patent the results of their research.

Bayh-Dole says that the Universities must patent *if* they elect to retain
title to the invention. If they do not so elect, the funding agency *may* so
elect, at it's option, in which case any patent (if filed) would be licensed
to the public at no charge, consistent with pre-existing practices and
policies. Under Bayh Dole, the most likely outcome is that the government
would *not* elect to accept title, in which case the invention becomes
public domain.

I cannot think of a single instance subsequent to the passing of Bayh-Dole
in which the government has exercised it's option.

Note also that research results can be rendered public by prior agreement in
the research contract in the first place. This is what we have done with our
current EROS-related DARPA contract. We have required that all results be
GPL'd, preempting even the usual government rights clauses.


Jonathan