Dedicated Covid 19 Non Exclusive Royalty Free Licence delivers free IP to drive research response to pandemic

Widespread buy-in from universities and Institutes of Technology to aid national response through the provision of free IP.

Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI), the national office that supports research commercialisation, has announced the creation of a dedicated COVID-19 Non-Exclusive Royalty-Free (NERF) Licence. KTI worked with the Technology Transfer Offices in the Irish higher education sector nationwide to produce a simple two page agreement that is aimed at speeding up the dissemination of critical COVID-19 related intellectual property from Irish universities and institutes of technology to companies. 

The NERF Licence is the result of a desire by higher education institutes nationwide to support the search for, and the development of, new technologies to help bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end. Under normal circumstances, IP is licenced through a process of negotiation between both parties under which royalties and exclusivity of use are clearly detailed and agreed. The COVID-19 NERF will provide cutting edge IP free of charge to organisations engaged in critical research and development activities for the sole purposes of diagnosing, preventing, containing, treating and/or minimising the impact of the virus.

The COVID-19 NERF will remain in place until such time as the World Health Organisation declares the current COVID-19 pandemic to have ended.

The development of this template agreement has been widely welcomed across Irish technology transfer offices - the network of offices based in universities, institutes of technology and other research performing organisations that manage the process of commercialising research.

Commenting on the development Dr Alison Campbell, Director of KTI said;

“IP is a precious commodity, a commodity that industry is always keen to access and that has a value, for which HEIs seek a fair return. These are not normal times however and the aim is to fast track Covid-specific IP into development as swiftly as possible. It’s heartening to see widespread buy-in from across the Irish higher education system. 

“Our aim today is to make sure companies are aware of the potential IP in existence in the Irish research base. By making it simpler to access we hope that this resource can be utilised when it is most urgently needed. Speed is of the essence.”

 The new COVID-19 NERF Licence is available from the KTI website.