by Becky Mahurin
The mission of a land-grant institution is to create and disseminate knowledge. Much knowledge
dissemination is accomplished through publishing. Publishing is an important part of the academic
landscape. Not only is it consistent with and important to our mission, but researchers must publish
for promotion and tenure consideration. Performing sponsored research and patenting technologies does
not, and should not, minimize the university's ability to publish.
The Intellectual Property Administration and Technology Transfer (IPATNT) Office at MSU reviews each
sponsored research contract to ensure that publication rights are preserved for researchers. The university
will, however, allow for protection of proprietary materials from companies. If a sponsor wishes its
proprietary materials/information to be held in confidence, we will agree to sign a Confidential Disclosure
Agreement to protect that proprietary information. This agreement may include chemical formulations,
business strategies and other information which is legitimately proprietary. Confidential Disclosure
Agreements must be reviewed and signed by the IPATNT Office.
Additionally, the IPATNT Office will allow for a short delay in publication in order that patents may
be filed. Typically, we will agree to up to a 90-day delay in publication for patent filing. We believe
this is appropriate, as any disclosure of technologies may bar patenting activities.
Occasionally researchers will perform work for a company that does not result in publishable subject
matter. However, we need to preserve rights to publish should publishable matter be generated under
Should you have questions about patenting, please call me at 994-7868 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becky Mahurin is director of the Intellectual Property Administration and
Technology Transfer at MSU.