Intellectual Property

November 16, 2016

CSST recognises the need for a clear Intellectual Property (IP) policy that achieves an appropriate balance between the dictates of an open data policy and the needs of allied industries to remain competitive and thus commercially viable.

The key principle underlying the IP protocol for CSST will be that data and information are made available as openly and freely as possible to all organisations in New Zealand while also ensuring that CSST remains financially viable and meets its legal obligations to those organisations from whom it receives IP or to whom it provides IP.

This principle is central to the business model, where CSST will balance its responsibilities as an open source ‘Community Enhancing Resource’ (akin to NOAA or NASA) and is responsibility to remain fiscally viable. The development of the data product pyramid requires that ‘lower level’ products and associated services (P&S; also used for product/service) can be leveraged to create ‘higher level’ P&S. This will necessitate negotiation of access to the IP embedded in lower level P&S for the generation of higher level P&S. Following the completion of the Implementation Phase for CSST, a small expert group will be tasked with developing a clear, legally binding set of guidelines related to IP across all of CSST. In the interim, CSST shall operate under the following general set of principles:

In general, IP can be considered either as Background IP or New IP. Background IP is the IP that already belongs to an organisation interacting with CSST (or IP belonging to CSST itself) while New IP is the IP that is co-created in the development of a P&S by CSST and the collaborating industry partner. In addition, it is important to differentiate between licensed rights to use other organisation’s IP, ownership of IP, and commercial reward for activities using IP.

For the purpose of licensed rights to use IP, and to meet CSST’s principle for IP management, both Background IP and New IP must be made available perpetually for the purposes of:

  • Operationalising the particular P&S in which CSST invests.
  • Developing new P&S based on the P&S in which CSST has invested.

In addition, to enhance the research reputation of CSST, publication of research, including New IP, must be facilitated to the extent possible, but without impinging on the ability of CSST and its allied industries to generate revenue from the delivery of that P&S to market, e.g. publication may only be delayed for an agreed period to secure formal protection of IP. To maintain confidentiality, there may be circumstances in which publication of IP will not occur.

Ownership of:

  • Background IP will normally reside with the party who provides that IP (with the proviso above that CSST will generally require a perpetual license to use that Background IP in connection with the pertinent new P&S)
  • New IP will normally reside with CSST but will be made available on a non-exclusive, royalty free basis, to the allied industry that collaborated with CSST in the generation of that IP. Should the New IP be made available to a third party, an appropriate licencing/royalty agreement between all three parties will be negotiated.

The level of commercial reward, i.e. profit sharing, in relation to IP, will form part of the opening negotiations for each P&S development. Key principles are:

  • Levels of commercial reward for both parties will be based on a model that will enhance the likelihood of long-term financial security of the P&S.
  • CSST will receive a return on its investment in P&S development that will meet CSST’s goal of investing in P&S development as a means of securing its own financial stability.
  • The development partner will receive a return on its investment in a P&S and provision of any Background IP.