Student - February 26, 2009

WAGENINGEN INVENTORS TO REAP THE REWARDS

DLO researchers are going to get a share of the profits if a patent on an invention of theirs makes money. The inventors and their research groups are to receive one sixth of the profit, while two thirds of the revenue will go to the relevant knowledge unit. This is what the executive board has decided.

Up to now, earnings from Wageningen patents have not benefitted the inventors and their research groups. Professor Raoul Bino, who coordinates knowledge exploitation, approves of this new development. ‘At other universities, inventors get a share in the benefits. And rightly so.’ Not that it happens all that often, he adds. ‘No more than one patent in twenty generates any income for the research institute.’

Under the new regulation, all income from patents will be divided as described between the inventor, the group and the knowledge unit, up to a limit of one and a half million euros. Beyond that, Wageningen UR will cream off the profits. A condition for both the knowledge unit and the executive board is that the income should be reinvested in research. The regulation does not apply to the university because the education unions voted against it. Patents are important to researchers for strengthening their relationships with the business world, says Bino. ‘An invention without a patent often means no product development by companies, since without the safeguard of a patent they don’t have a competitive advantage on the market.’ The most common practice is for researchers to sell their patent under license to a company. Wageningen UR’s patent office can support them in this.

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