Intellectual Property APTEC does not have a great interest in intellectual property. Our mission is to make your research and development efforts go faster, in the belief this will foster economic development. For new projects that seem to have IP potential--meaning that APTEC is truly engaged in an intellectual sense--our Board of Directors will call on members or outside experts to decide how to proceed. APTEC can be a go-between for you and a partnering university (rarely do they have polymer-specific expertise). Sometimes, if one university is dragging its feet, we can find a suitable partner elsewhere. When no university (or universities) are willing, we may yet be able to proceed on IP-sensitive projects using labs under our own control.
Working with APTEC For short-term problems (e.g., characterization of polymers by DSC) APTEC will usually try to engage staff members at preferred universities, following the (usually friendly) procedures of the institution. You may just have to pay an invoice, like any other purchase. In other cases, where a longer-term commitment is needed or where multiple universities must be engaged, APTEC can coordinate the effort. Another option is to fund an APTEC scholarship or APTEC fellowship. We then work with universities or other laboratories to ensure the project's success. This is easiest and most cost-effective when the scholar or fellow is given license to follow their own interests. It will come as no surprise their interests are shaped by yours. In other cases, where enormous university resources are required, a contract can be written to APTEC which will work with one or more institutions. APTEC is also happy to broker and advise on contracts that go directly to universities. One of the very best ways to work with APTEC is through the Student Entrepreneurs as Active Leaders. This amazing program gives highly creative students the opportunity to solve your problem in a supervised educational setting that graduates students with business sense. Confidentiality Confidentiality agreements usually do not pose a problem, but practices vary a little bit depending on each member's other affiliations.
*What is the composition and structure of APTEC? APTEC is a 501-c3 non-profit incorporated in Louisiana. The list of members is held confidential, but includes people interested in polymer science & engineering. Members come from the industrial, academic and private sectors. Names of those serving on the Board of Directors are listed on the website: http://macro.lsu.edu/aptec/BoardMemberStuff/aptec_board_members.htm
*Does being an APTEC member pose a conflict of interest with my company or institution? No...APTEC is a society. When you attend an APTEC function, you represent yourself, not your company. Just as your company cannot tell you where to go to church or require you to back public radio over The Nature Conservancy, it cannot prevent you from joining APTEC. Each meeting begins with a reminder that you represent yourself at APTEC. Will you learn things that may help in your career? We hope so!
*What Services Are Offered? APTEC is a consortium. Services are not so much offered as found within the labs of our members. Almost anything a polymer scientist or engineer could need is available. A partial list of expertise is found here: http://macro.lsu.edu/aptec/AboutExpertise.htm When a client’s request can be met within a single university, APTEC just points the way to that facility. When we must coordinate between several facilities or manage a fellowship, a small fee is assessed. All clients are asked to contribute to the unrestricted fund, but this is optional.
*Can You Provide an Example of a Typical Contract? There is no typical contract—varies by user. Three possibilities are shown for example.
APTEC as clearing house: If a client just needs assistance with GPC or NMR, APTEC finds the best facility and makes the contact at no cost. The university (or institution) usually just sends an invoice. Sometimes, a form letter has to be signed first, agreeing not to indemnify the provider. No client has ever balked at this.
APTEC as agent for a more extensive research program: For medium-sized research of several months’ duration or longer, the easiest thing is to establish a graduate student or postdoctoral fellowship. This might be named, for example, (Company Name) Fellowship for the Advancement of Chromatographic Techniques. As a matter of job security, it will be understood by the fellow that said advancements are most interesting to the donor when they involve the donor’s samples. Fellows may be employees of APTEC. In that case, they act as guest researchers in various laboratories or in space acquired for the purpose of achieving the research objective. APTEC can buy supplies, arrange for travel and so on with far fewer restrictions than most public universities. APTEC is equally comfortable placing industrial partners in contact with the most appropriate university, which can manage the fellowship, purchase supplies, etc.
APTEC as contractor: A multifaceted research project can be undertaken by APTEC, which may subcontract to universities or other facilities, hire technical staff, lease space and equipment, etc., to achieve the research objectives. If faculty are involved in the research, they can be hired as APTEC consultants. This cost-effective approach requires permission of their institution, which is normally granted.
*What Steps Are Taken to Protect Intellectual Property?
Fellows or other supported workers, as well as APTEC members and technical advisors, can sign non- disclosure agreements. The enforcement clause of a well-designed NDA is usually effective.
Members or fellows who sign non-disclosure agreements may be bound by policies of their main employer. For university employees, the policies are normally permissive in terms of what can be done, but restrictive in terms of committing the university and using official university titles. A corporate press release might say, "Dr. Sam Snodgrass, whose day job is teaching wet chemistry at the University of Nowhere, has discovered fluid water." It would not say, "University of Nowhere scientists discover fluid water."
Universities and other institutions want their employees to have wide exposure because applied and practical problems benefit students and research. There is no way to prevent non-specific information learned during the conduct of research from benefiting others. As an example, an APTEC fellow may learn that Omega is a good supplier of pressure transducers while working with Client A. If Client B needs an a pressure transducer, it is natural to look to Omega.
*Does APTEC Seek Intellectual Property Rights? By design, the Consortium has little interest in intellectual property; however, the Board of Directors can rule otherwise.