Friday, 19 November 2010

"When to sue" training for university TTOs: is it US-only?

No longer havens of rustic reflection,
universities now have to develop
patent litigation savviness
Earlier this week PatLit commented on the availability of Boot Camp training for expert witnesses in patent litigation in the United States, and on the absence of such training in Europe. Another area in which the US seems to have taken the lead is in training university technology transfer office (TTO) heads how to identify the point at which to take legal action and how far to go.  This advertisement, in a Technology Transfer Tactics email circular, caught my eye:
Patent Infringement: Deciding When and How Your TTO Should Take Action
University technology transfer offices have long had a reputation for being hesitant, if not outright pushovers, when it comes to enforcing their patent rights. The big companies that take liberties with university IP assume the worst case scenario is a non-punitive compulsory license -- and the result of this widespread perception is a weakening of university IP rights and, in essence, a huge discount from its real value. Breaking this cycle can have a massive impact on the overall monetary value of your patent portfolio, and also speaks volumes to both potential infringers, your licensees, and your own faculty innovators who entrust you with their patents. That’s why our Distance Learning Division has recruited a top attorney and a veteran TTO executive to assist you in erasing the “pushover perception,” identifying when a potential breach has occurred, determining when it’s best to take action against infringers, assessing other legal options short of a full-blown court case, and supporting your attorneys throughout the process.
Since universities in the US can be viewed as Non-Practising Entities (trolls), the need for them to mind not only their financial interests but their reputation may be a matter of sensitivity, though the rubric of the advertisement above does not suggest that trollism is part of the course content.  Again, I wonder what level of infringement-response training is available for tech transfer offices outside the States and particularly in Europe.  I'm sure that some information-sharing among universities takes place at national level and possibly even beyond, but at what level, how frequently and to what end? Can any readers advise?

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