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News on the Intellectual Property Policy
On April 14, the Senate Ad Hoc Committee to Revise the Draft Policy on Intellectual Property met with Vice-Principal (Research) Pierre Bélanger and Line Thibault, General Counsel, and received from Dr. Bélanger a revised draft of the IP Policy intended as a working document for the meeting. The focus of the meeting was a section by section attempt to reconcile the Advisory Committee's April 9 draft with Dr. Bélanger's response of April 14. The outcome of working with the two drafts is as follows:
1. Some of the proposals and/or wordings of our April 9 document have been accepted. Among these are section 3.2c). This exception to the author's copyright will now read: "the Work constitutes or contains Software as defined herein as the primary constituent." And the hearing subcommittee (in the case of appeal) will no longer "be the master of its own procedure," but will proceed in a "manner consistent with principles of natural justice." (We had proposed "procedural fairness.")
2. Some of the principles in the April 9 document have been accepted, but will be expressed differently. One case where the wording has yet to be settled is that of the distribution of open source software, which will be freely permitted. The revised version will also make explicit in suitable wording that a close working relationship between the Inventor and OTT will be assured.
3. Some of our changes have not been accepted. We agreed, for now, to disagree. Our proposed 60/40 revenue split, with the first $10,000 of net revenue going to the inventor, was rejected. The counter-proposal which reaffirmed the 50/50 split was, however, accompanied by acceptance of the inventor's entitlement to the initial $10,000.
The Advisory Committee will be meeting with Dr. Bélanger again on Monday, May 1, for the final revision prior to the May 3 Senate Steering Committee meeting, where the agenda for the May 10 meeting of Senate will be established. Dr. Bélanger hopes to hear from the various faculties prior to that date and to incorporate some of the changes in the version that will be presented to the Advisory Committee on May 1. There is at least one independent committee, that of the Faculty of Engineering, chaired by Associate Dean Juan Vera, which is also working on alternatives. For the drafts of the policy that are available on the web and other relevant documents, please see: vm1.mcgill.ca/~inmf/http/software.html.
Myron J. Frankman
Chair, Ad hoc Committee