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New Guidelines for Govt Intellectual Property

New Guidelines for Treatment of Government Intellectual Property Rights
January 31, 2008

The State Services Commission New Zealand today released new Cabinet approved Guidelines for Treatment of Intellectual Property Rights http://www.e.govt.nz/policy/ipr/ in government Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) contracts. These state that the commercialisation of intellectual property resulting from State Services agencies' ICT contracts is best carried out by the commercial sector.

Laurence Millar, Deputy Commissioner Information and Communication Technologies, said: "In general government ICT contracts should provide for ownership of intellectual property by the supplier, and only in limited circumstances will agencies seek to own and commercially exploit the intellectual property rights arising from these contracts. Agencies should, however, retain an all-of-government usage licence.

"Government agencies will also retain the right, where appropriate, to allow free use of the intellectual property on open source terms."

In the past, government agencies have often sought to own the new intellectual property rights, on the assumption that this was in the best interests of government. However, by retaining ownership of these rights, agencies may have been inadvertently restricting opportunities to exploit that intellectual property and limiting incentives for innovation.

"Government investment in ICT can make a significant contribution to economic transformation in New Zealand. This can be achieved not only through the effective use of ICT in driving productivity in the delivery of government business, but also through the use of intellectual property created in developing ICT solutions, where it is exploited and commercialised by those best placed to do so," Laurence Millar said.

The Guidelines recognise the need to balance economic development and national interest. In matters of national security, for example, government will want to retain full ownership rights, regardless of the possible economic benefits of commercial development of that intellectual property. Government, like any other customer, will also seek to ensure that solutions developed and deployed for it will be supported and maintained to its satisfaction.

The Guidelines were prepared by a working group of government officials and draft versions were widely consulted on across government and with a representative range of suppliers.

Decisions about intellectual property rights ownership, commercialisation and usage licensing should be made when agencies are developing an ICT project business case, and should be set out in Requests for Proposal/Tender documentation.

Full release: http://www.e.govt.nz/resources/news/2008/20080131.html

ENDS

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