At the end of the third year, IBM decided not to continue the sponsored project agreement and the agreement was terminated. Professor Thomas and BGU were able to fund the research for another three years with Intel. Professor Thomas, being very busy, told Mary that the company also wanted him to sign a consulting agreement, and he wanted Mary to negotiate the personal consulting agreement for him.
Lecture 5 Case Study . Conflict of Interest When Mary looked at the consulting contract she found that the statement of work was identical to the sponsored project research with IBM. While the sponsored project agreement preserved IP rights for the university, the consulting agreement would give all IP rights to Intel. In addition, Thomas agreed to use his graduate students to perform the research at no cost to the company since this would be a valuable learning experience" for them. Name the stakeholders The university, Prof. Thomas, Mary Smith, graduate students, IBM and Intel
Lecture 5 Case Study . Conflict of Interest  What is the university responsibility for IP or copyright? A university must be careful not to give the second company the same or conflicting rights to IP (copyrights, patents, and other rights as well) it had already given to the first company. Under most university policies, researchers are given copyrights to most of their creations. Therefore, having conflicting copyright provisions in agreements with sponsors can easily draw the faculty member into a conflict with the university, sponsors and publishers.
Lecture 5 Case Study . Conflict of Interest  Does Prof. Thomas have a conflict of interest and why? It is completely inappropriate for Prof. Thomas to have a consulting agreement for the same work as is being performed under a sponsored project agreement. •In consulting agreements, the company typically retains all IP rights and totally excludes rights to the consultant. •In sponsored project agreements, a university typically retains ownership of all IP (although it may agree to option or license certain non-exclusive rights to the company). Prof. Thomas has a conflict of commitment with his responsibilities to the university as his primary employer, and the case could also represent a financial conflict of interest. His involving graduate students would have to be investigated
Lecture 5 Case Study . Conflict of Interest  What is the conflict of interest in regards the graduate students? If the work is consistent with the goals of university education and training, then there is no COI. However, there is a clear and direct conflict of interest if •Despite the justification that this work could benefit the students, it is distracting them from their degree-related activities and, if they are paid by sponsored project funding, from their responsibilities as university employees.