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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 06:15 GMT 07:15 UK
Academics debate ownership of ideas
Senate House, Cambridge
Academics fear loss of intellectual property rights
Plans by Cambridge University to take control over the ownership of the ideas of staff are to be debated on Tuesday.

The plans could hinder the growth of cutting-edge industry in Cambridgeshire, critics fear.

The formal debate by University academics, called the Discussion, is due to start at 1400 BST.

The University proposal "asserts ownership of all intellectual property generated by its (the university's) employees".

'Silicon Fen'

After the Discussion a vote on the proposals by University staff is likely to be taken by the end of the year.

The Campaign for Cambridge Freedoms, is fighting the proposed change in University rules.

Dr Mike Clark, a committee member of the Campaign for Cambridge Freedoms, told BBC News Online said he planned to speak in the debate.

Dr Clark, of the University's pathology department, believes the growth of hi-tech businesses in the area surrounding Cambridge, which has become known as "Silicon Fen", is due to the liberal rules of the University.

'Transparent'

"This change would slam the door on this. The process of development (of research) would become very bureaucratic," he said.

Professor Tony Minson, chair of the school of biological sciences, who is set to speak in favour of the proposal, said that the plan is to give the University "transparent, fair and defendable practices with respect to intellectual property rights".

The University's Vice-Chancellor Sir Alec Broers earlier told the BBC: "The University has a right to a share because I think there are very few true individuals.

"Most people have to rely on others and if they go off on their own that is a rather selfish thing to do."


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See also:

26 Sep 02 | England
27 Aug 02 | Education
02 Nov 01 | Education
07 Feb 02 | Education
30 Jan 01 | Education
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