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  1. YNU
  2. Research
  3. Research Policy
  4. Intellectual Property Policy

Intellectual Property Policy

April 1, 2004

1. Purpose

Yokohama National University (YNU) extensively utilizes the intellectual property created by the educational and research activities conducted professionally by its faculty members (*) towards socio-economic development and the improved welfare of humankind. It continues to work in a coordinated manner to facilitate intellectual and creative activities by individual faculty members and the university as a whole.

Accordingly, YNU has set up a division, overseen by the President, to facilitate partnerships with industry and governments, to lead other university organizations in partnering with external institutes and organizations to assess, protect, license, commercialize, and transfer intellectual properties. YNU attaches great importance to the identification of seed-phase businesses, project coordination, and partnerships with local communities, industry, government, and the public sector. It serves as a liaison to facilitate and support such activities.

YNU, therefore, has established an intellectual property policy (hereinafter, called the "Policy") to clarify the basic matters to facilitate the creation, acquisition, management, and application of intellectual properties.

(*) Faculty members consist of researchers (including those engaged in endowment courses), as well as undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral students (PD), researchers, guest researchers, and part-time staff who have signed an agreement with YNU or its staff regarding research outcomes or inventions.

2. Basic approach

  1. Coordination of research, education, and intellectual property activities at YNU
    YNU has duties to pursue truth, contribute to academic and scientific development, and educate and nurture talents in each discipline. In so doing, YNU must also remain fair, equitable, and neutral. Intellectual property activities at YNU must be conducted in line with these duties.
  2. Setting rules that accommodate diversity of intellectual properties at YNU
    Unlike companies and other entities with core technologies and core business areas, intellectual properties held by universities extend across many fields. They range in nature from the basic or theoretical to others that are almost ready for a practical application.
    Naturally, it is difficult to manage all such diverse intellectual properties with a single, simple rule. Hence, rules are set in accordance with the type and nature of the intellectual property, which are then applied according to the actual situation.
  3. Ensuring freedom and autonomy of learning
    Intellectual properties are products of unconstrained research conducted by autonomous researchers. Bearing this in mind, intellectual property activities by YNU must be carried out with great care so they do not excessively restrict research activities (including publications of research outcomes).
  4. Principle of disclosure of research outcomes
    Researchers and the like have a duty to proactively apply their research outcomes for the benefit of our society and disclose them to the extent that they do not breach confidentiality.
  5. The obligations of YNU and its faculty members
    Faculty members and the like must always try to understand the importance of intellectual properties and relevant activities. To deepen such understanding, YNU must conduct activities to raise awareness.
    Research information on any service inventions notified by faculty members or the like must be protected by YNU and the faculty members. YNU must swiftly decide whether they should obtain intellectual property rights. Any positive decisions must be followed up swiftly by the necessary procedures by YNU. To properly manage intellectual properties, YNU must ascertain the intentions of the creators of inventions (hereinafter called "inventors") and swiftly take the necessary response by mobilizing the available human resources and technology licensing organizations or other external agents.
    YNU is obliged to take the necessary measures in response to any infringements of intellectual property rights, while seeking cooperation from the inventors.
  6. Free and effective use of intellectual properties at YNU and beyond
    YNU must make the necessary arrangements to facilitate the free use of its intellectual properties for research and development conducted by other universities, institutes shared by universities, technical colleges, national or public testing and research institutes, government-affiliated corporations, and incorporated administrative agencies.
    In particular, for academic purposes, YNU must enable organizations outside of YNU to use patents on research tools, tangible objects, and other intellectual properties.

3. Notification of an invention

  1. Faculty members and the like must notify YNU whenever they judge that their research outcomes qualify as a service invention.
  2. YNU may request that faculty members report their research outcomes if they are deemed to be a service invention that requires further consideration, such as for its possible succession.
  3. In response to any notification of an invention, YNU shall consult on the following matters with the Invention Judge Panel (hereinafter called the "Panel") set up in the Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Industry-University-Goverenment Collaboration.
    1. Qualification of the invention or the like as a service invention
    2. Any need for succession
    3. Any need for patent application
    4. Other matters to be determined separately
  4. Based on a report from the Panel, YNU must decide how to handle the notified invention, and notify its decision to the inventor without delay.
  5. Any faculty member may object to the decision on the qualification as a service invention or the patent application. The objection procedure is defined separately.
  6. Intellectual properties succeeded by YNU may be subject to disposition at the YNU's own discretion.

4. Attribution of inventions, etc.

  1. Inventions or the like are attributed to YNU if they result from research in the performance of the professional duties of faculty members or the like; research conducted with financial or other forms of support from the university; research involving students, research students, or the like while using facilities or equipment managed by YNU; and inventive activities in the performance of professional duties by faculty members or the like (collectively called "service inventions").
    Inventions may belong to inventors, provided this is acknowledged by YNU.
    The same principle applies to the shares of faculty members if their inventions resulted from joint research with private companies, commissioned research, or research funded by the government.
    As a general rule, no changes shall be made to the attributions of rights that were already decided before YNU was incorporated as a national university on April 1, 2004.
  2. In the event that service inventions are attributed to YNU, which subsequently succeeds and owns them, adequate compensation must be made to faculty members in recognition of their intellectual efforts and skills that produced such inventions. Compensation must additionally be paid to inventors when YNU earns any revenue (income) from the licensing or transfer of intellectual property rights for service inventions. The entitlement to such compensation is retained even after the retirement of the inventors concerned.
  3. Aside from the abovementioned compensation to inventors, YNU must designate a part of any revenue arising from the utilization of intellectual properties to improving the research environment to which these inventors belong.

5. Recognition for inventions

The assessments of faculty members and the like take into account any notified service inventions that meet certain requirements, regardless of whether or not the rights are succeeded by YNU, technology licensing organizations, or other external organizations.

6. Organizations and administrative system

  1. System and organizations for obtaining and utilizing intellectual property rights
    YNU sets up internal organizations to obtain and utilize intellectual property rights with the Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Industry-University-Goverenment Collaboration at their core. The Section serves as an internal and external contact point to handle affairs related to intellectual properties. It also fosters the proper mindset to effectively obtain, utilize, and license intellectual property rights and strives to ensure the security of the relevant
    information. The Section facilitates the acquisition and transfer of intellectual property rights while maintaining a balance with the promotion of education and research as YNU's mission.
  2. Lawyers and other specialists are appointed to the Section to address disputes, litigation, and other legal matters involving intellectual properties.
  3. YNU works with technology licensing organizations and other external organizations to deal with infringements of intellectual property rights owned by YNU.

7. Partnerships with technology licensing organizations

YNU employs technology licensing organizations to effectively, efficiently, and flexibly conduct licensing activities and exchange intellectual property agreements with stakeholders from industry or other sectors. In this manner, YNU pursues an integrated approach to licensing.

8. Promotion of joint research, etc.

YNU seeks mutual benefit by making considerate arrangements, including the ways that outcomes from joint research are handled.

9. Promotion of university-based startups

  1. To assist any venture companies that have been started-up and are being managed part time or full time by faculty members or the like whose inventions were succeeded by YNU for later patent applications, YNU tries to make preferential arrangements, such as for the licensing and assignment of patents (including possible exclusive licensing).
  2. YNU must promote the incubation of research spin-offs to reliably transfer beneficial technologies.

This Policy will be effective from April 1, 2004.

The revised Policy will be effective from September 14, 2006.

The revised Policy will be effective from April 1, 2008.

The revised Policy will be effective from October 1, 2013.

(Industry-university and Local Collaboration Division)