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IP Challenges for Medical Research Centers

by Nikki Borman, CEO, Borman & Company

Medical research centers engage in a complex ecosystem to bring new technology to market. The path from invention to commercialization includes many players in concert with the seminal researchers. Funding sources may start with government grants and then expand to include industry participants and specific patient advocacy groups as clinical trials get underway. By definition, agreements among multiple parties are complex. In addition, the dimensions of these relationships shift from year-to-year and new constituents enter even as outside forces may realign priorities. We see this complexity in the current pandemic, which has focused the attention and broadened constituents across the world.

So, how do these many-to-many relationships pose a challenge to the intellectual property of medical research centers? The germ of the problem lies in what happens over time and the lack of documentation to support the IP as transitions occur; people are involved on appointment and then move on, new parties enter the research cycle. The “why” behind the relationships between parties is lost track of. Yet, the academic research center, as lead institution, needs to manage collaborators and their rights as well as how the licensees roll out technology. Therefore, it is essential that the foundation supporting the institution’s actions is rock-solid.

For more about how medical research centers risk losing their hold on intellectual property, visit


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