Friday, May 19, 2006

Spread the Credit Around:

When a university research team files a patent, they can be very generous about crediting authorship to everyone who works on it. I learned today that this kindness can have a good, practical basis. I was told of a research group whose work depended on a machine that one faculty member had invented (and patented for himself alone). That faculty member moved on from university A to university B, but the research at A continued, until B sued them to stop it.
“Hey this is our research,” claimed A.
“But you don't have an author for the key machine,” said B. “We have the inventor now!”
“If there had been lots of inventors,” said the person telling me the story, “some of them would still have been at A.”

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