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Intellectual property

Genomics Aotearoa aims to benefit New Zealand through better use of genomics in the fields of health, the environment and primary production. We work with a range of partners and associates who are experts in research translation and in delivery of outcomes and new technologies.

Our IP approach is designed to make technology transfer easy, so that discoveries we make can be rapidly passed on to experts in translation in the appropriate area for them to commercialise. We use a royalty free licence approach to ensure that benefit does accrue to New Zealanders, and that we can get some measurement of the impact of our work.

Intellectual property management strategy

Our IP management strategy involves two guiding principles:

(a) For ‘indigenous data’, defined here as DNA information from indigenous species (human, plant or animal biota), the Kahui Māori will develop a specific IP management plan that makes provision for mana whenua interests and rights with regards to biota and the genomes of Māori. This plan will also incorporate benefit sharing pathways.

(b) With regards to ‘non-indigenous’ data, Genomics Aotearoa (GA) will adhere to the intellectual property policies and principles as set out below. We are committed to transferring as much Intellectual Property (IP) into use as we can for the benefit of our parties, the community, and the wider economy.

All parties in GA will retain ownership of their background IP and any new IP created by them. They will grant a non-exclusive, royalty-free, non-transferable licence of relevant background IP to other parties, to the extent that they are able, for the purposes of the research and or related activities unless there are reasonable grounds not to grant such licence.

Project IP will be owned by the party that creates it. Where project IP is created by more than one party, it will be co-owned by them (unless they agree otherwise). Where project IP is co-owned by more than one of the parties, the parties who co-own it shall agree which of them shall be the managing party. The managing party will be responsible for decisions concerning translation, implementation or commercialisation of the project IP.

Parties will report all project IP to the GA Director, who will keep a register of reported IP. The Director will report on IP to the Board annually, including on progress made on translation and implementation of IP.

Subject to any reasonable requirements for the protection of project IP for commercialisation purposes, project IP will be licensed non-exclusively and royalty free to the parties for the purposes of research and/or related activities as well as educational activities.

On a case-by-case basis, if it can be shown that there will be greater impact and benefit for New Zealand in making that IP freely available to a company or individual outside of GA, then parties may consider releasing that IP using the Easy Access IP process. Easy Access IP is a practice (incorporating a simple, one page, royalty-free licensing agreement) used by a growing international collective of prestigious universities and research institutions who give certain discoveries and inventions to companies, individuals or communities at no cost, with the aim of translating more research into products and services that benefit their respective communities and economies.

In return for free access to this IP, licensees will be asked to:

  • Demonstrate how they will create value for society and the economy
  • Acknowledge GA as the originator of the intellectual property
  • Report annually on the progress and development of the IP
  • Agree that if the IP is not exploited within three years, the licence will be revoked
  • Agree there will be no limitations on use of that IP for parties'/members' on-going research

If you wish to know more, please contact: genomics.aotearoa@otago.ac.nz