Our plan for management of intellectual property and sharing of research resources has three goals:
- To support the open, interactive nature of the relationship between Alliance members
- To minimize administrative delays related to management of intellectual property and proprietary interests
- To facilitate the rapid placement of research discoveries into the public domain
To accomplish these goals, the Participating Investigators and the Alliance Laboratories do not retain any intellectual property rights to their research discoveries that are a direct result of funding or reagents provided by the Alliance.
All those who provide reagents to the AfCS sign a simple, non-negotiable Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) that assures that (1) the provider will retain no proprietary rights in intellectual property developed through use of the reagent, (2) the reagent is provided without commercial obligation to a third party, (3) the AfCS laboratory will not distribute the reagent to any other non-AfCS third party without prior written consent, (4) the AfCS will not be responsible for reporting discoveries to the provider related to the use of the reagent, and (5) the AfCS will use the reagent solely for AfCS-funded research and will not retain any proprietary rights related to use of the reagent.
Patent protection of the posted data is not possible because of public disclosure and the obvious lack of inventorship. Once placed within the public domain, all data may be used by any party for research and/or commercial purposes. Both AfCS and non-AfCS researchers, acting outside the Alliance, may use these data as a platform to develop new discoveries, and the AfCS will not have any "reach-through" rights to such discoveries.
DNA-based reagents developed by the Alliance are being distributed in a timely manner through the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC).