COVID-19 related agreements and contracts during the pandemic

The Office of Technology Commercialization continues to function at full capacity during the pandemic telework period. We are doing our utmost to expedite COVID19 research-related agreements. Here are a few points to note:

  1. CDAs will be handled as usual, with as rapid turn-around as possible. When sending to us, please identify that they are for COVID19 or pandemic purposes.
  2. Material transfer agreements (including tissue transfer agreements, which are increasing now) and Data Use Agreements will be accelerated as much as possible. We are currently drafting new templates, including an emergency basis Simple Letter Agreement, that will expedite handling and transfer of materials and data.
  3. Collaboration agreements and research agreements for COVID19 work will also be fast-tracked. Please be sure to send us your plans for collaborative research regarding the COVID19 so that we may initiate agreements right away.
  4. Intellectual property (IP) protection will continue during this period, however, our aim is to offer rapid royalty-free licenses for IP that may be useful for or pivoted to COVID19 pandemic purposes. Such licenses will comply with general IP practices globally as they relate to the pandemic. It remains important to protect IP as appropriate, but that will not impede free and rapid distribution of important technology to address the pandemic. To formalize this approach, we have signed on to the Stanford/Harvard/MIT COVID-19 Technology Access Framework.

COVID-19 Technology Access Framework

We strongly believe that while intellectual property rights can often serve to incentivize the creation of new products, such rights should not become a barrier to addressing widespread, urgent and essential health-related needs. To address the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are each implementing technology transfer strategies to allow for and incentivize rapid utilization of our available technologies that may be useful for preventing, diagnosing and treating COVID-19 infection during the pandemic.

To achieve our common goal, we each individually commit to the following guidelines:

  1. We are committed to implementing COVID-19 patenting and licensing strategies that are consistent with our goal of facilitating rapid global access. For most types of technologies, this includes the use of rapidly executable non-exclusive royalty-free licenses to intellectual property rights that we have the right to license, for the purpose of making and distributing products to prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19 infection during the pandemic and for a short period thereafter. In return for these royalty-free licenses, we are asking the licensees for a commitment to distribute the resulting products as widely as possible and at a low cost that allows broad accessibility during the term of the license.
  2. We are committed to making vigorous efforts to achieve alignment among all stakeholders in our intellectual property, including research sponsors, to facilitate broad and rapid access to technologies that have been requested to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. We are committed to making any technology transfer transactions related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic our first priority, and to minimizing any associated administrative burdens.

The initial signatories* include:

Stanford University
Harvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Additional signatories:

Broad Institute
Cornell University
Georgetown University
University of Maryland, College Park
University of South Alabama
Virginia Commonwealth University
Yale University

For the updated list of signatories please visit the following link: https://otl.stanford.edu/covid-19-technology-access-framework

AUTM COVID-19 Licensing Guidelines


The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly moved the work of technology transfer offices from university and other non-profit research organizations to the battle’s front line. In order to support our Membership worldwide and enable a swift end to the crisis, AUTM is providing these guidelines, which are consistent with the Association’s long-standing support for humanitarian licensing. The AUTM Board of Directors endorses these COVID-19 Licensing Guidelines, and invites your institution to do the same.

  1. Technology transfer accelerates innovations that impact society and promotes the broad distribution of public health solutions. We encourage intellectual property (IP) owners to adopt a COVID-19 licensing strategy that facilitates rapid pandemic response by licensees and to make the execution of associated transactions a top priority.
  2. For most technologies, where legally possible, this strategy is best accomplished by adopting time-limited, non-exclusive royalty-free licenses, in exchange for the licensees’ commitment to rapidly make and broadly distribute products and services to prevent, diagnose, treat and contain COVID-19 and protect healthcare workers during the pandemic (as defined by the World Health Organization).
  3. Licenses may subsequently convert to a more typical commercial license as appropriate. Licenses must also preserve the licensor’s freedom to publish and use the intellectual property for teaching and research.
    AUTM has long supported expediting research from academic and government labs around the world to the public for the good of society, as exemplified in the 2007 Nine Points to Consider in Licensing University Technology framework. Now more than ever it is important for technology transfer offices to reinforce these principles.

    Signatories:
    Georgetown University
    Louisiana State University
    Michigan State University
    Michigan Technological University
    Princeton University
    University of Michigan
    University of Southern California
    University of Vermont and State Agricultural College
    Versiti | Blood Research Institute

For the updated list of signatories please visit the following link: https://autm.net/about-tech-transfer/covid19/covid-19-licensing-guidelines