April 27, 2020
COVID-19 Licensing Guidelines
The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly moved the work of technology transfer offices from university and other non-profit research organizations to the battle’s front line. In order to support Membership worldwide and enable a swift end to the crisis, AUTM is providing these guidelines, which are consistent with the Association’s long-standing support for humanitarian licensing. The AUTM Board of Directors endorses these COVID-19 Licensing Guidelines, and has invited Duke and many other institutions to do the same.
- Technology transfer accelerates innovations that impact society and promotes the broad distribution of public health solutions. We encourage intellectual property (IP) owners to adopt a COVID-19 licensing strategy that facilitates rapid pandemic response by licensees and to make the execution of associated transactions a top priority.
- For most technologies, where legally possible, this strategy is best accomplished by adopting time-limited, non-exclusive royalty-free licenses, in exchange for the licensees’ commitment to rapidly make and broadly distribute products and services to prevent, diagnose, treat and contain COVID-19 and protect healthcare workers during the pandemic (as defined by the World Health Organization).
- Licenses may subsequently convert to a more typical commercial license as appropriate. Licenses must also preserve the licensor’s freedom to publish and use the intellectual property for teaching and research.
AUTM has long supported expediting research from academic and government labs around the world to the public for the good of society, as exemplified in the 2007 Nine Points to Consider in Licensing University Technology framework. Now more than ever it is important for technology transfer offices to reinforce these principles.