Copyrights and Patents
Colleges and universities are charged with the responsibility of bringing the intellectual property of their faculty and staff into the public domain while protecting the ownership of the authored work or invention. Universities also endeavor to facilitate a financial return to the individual inventors and authors as well as the institution.
Copyright laws protect original works, such as literary, musical, dramatic (including movies and the music that accompanies them), architectural, artistic and other intellectual creations from unauthorized reproduction while patent laws cover property rights for inventors. Additionally, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), signed into law in 1998, deals with the new issue of internet-based and media access to copyrighted works. This piece of legislation explicitly declares unlawful the circumventing of technological measures, such as scrambling and crypting that control access to a work protected under federal copyright laws without the authority of the copyright owner.
In 1975, Harvard University formed the Committee on Patents and Copyrights to help interpret and apply intellectual property laws to cases involving University inventors and authors. Harvard's Office of Technology Development provides additional guidance in matters of intellectual property, maintains a database of Harvard technologies available for licensing, and deals with issues relating to use of the Harvard name. Recently, Harvard named a DMCA agent to help oversee issues, such as peer-to-peer file sharing infringements on copyright laws, and uphold University compliance with copyright laws.
Recent court cases and newly enacted legislation have renewed the focus on intellectual property, especially on university campuses. Harvard remains committed to both protecting the proprietary rights of the intellectual property produced on and off its campus while encouraging the production of new works and inventions.
Highlights of Technologies Licensed by Harvard in FY2002
- Targeted Drug Delivery Technology
- New Form of Plasmin
- Theoretical Method for Entanglement-based Quantum Communications Protocols
- Technique for Depositing a Double-layer Coating
- Method for Lowering the Risk of Infection By Certain Airborne Pathogens
- Portable Air Sampling System
- Conformal Coating of Tungsten Nitride
- Potential Live-attenuated Vaccine Candidates
Letter to Massachusetts Congressional Delegation re: H.R. 801, the "Fair Copyright in Research Works Act
University Policies and Practices Addressing Improper Peer-to-Peer File Sharing (ACE Report)