KAUST Joins COVID-19 Open IP Access Framework

King Abdullah University of Science of Technology (KAUST) is joining universities around the world to make licensing opportunities rapidly available and get technologies that prevent, diagnose, treat and contain COVID-19 to market.

In response to the virus, KAUST researchers have shifted their capabilities to develop solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic in collaboration with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s healthcare stakeholders, including the Saudi Centers for Disease Control and Ministry of Health. KAUST research efforts are focusing on the development of rapid diagnostic platforms, genomic analyses and tools to help stop the spread and evolution of the virus.

“KAUST is in a unique position in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East to significantly contribute to the development of new technologies that can help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. IP licensing typically takes months to finalize with significant financial and legal costs to both parties. By making KAUST technology easily accessible, we can speed up the development of technologies and make them public more quickly,” explained Sean Flanigan, Director of Technology Transfer at KAUST.

KAUST has become a signatory to both the AUTM COVID-19 Licensing Guidelines and adopted the COVID-19 Technology Development Framework, initiated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford and Harvard.

Both frameworks ensure that KAUST intellectual property will allow for royalty-free, time-limited, non-exclusive licenses during the pandemic and for a period after it ends. The program takes advantage of our express licensing documentation developed under the KAUST Easy Access Program (KEAP) introduced in 2019 to accelerate the translation of research out of the university.

Full text of the COVID-19 Technology Development Framework

“We strongly believe that while intellectual property rights can often serve to incentivize the creation of new products, such rights should not become a barrier to addressing widespread, urgent and essential health-related needs. To address the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are each implementing technology transfer strategies to allow for and incentivize rapid utilization of our available technologies that may be useful for preventing, diagnosing and treating COVID-19 infection during the pandemic. To achieve our common goal, we each individually commit to the following guidelines:

  1. We are committed to implementing COVID-19 patenting and licensing strategies that are consistent with our goal of facilitating rapid global access. For most types of technologies, this includes the use of rapidly executable non-exclusive royalty-free licenses to intellectual property rights that we have the right to license, for the purpose of making and distributing products to prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19 infection during the pandemic and for a short period thereafter.  In return for these royalty-free licenses, we are asking the licensees for a commitment to distribute the resulting products as widely as possible and at a low cost that allows broad accessibility during the term of the license.
  2. We are committed to making vigorous efforts to achieve alignment among all stakeholders in our intellectual property, including research sponsors, to facilitate broad and rapid access to technologies that have been requested to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. We are committed to making any technology transfer transactions related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic our first priority, and to minimizing any associated administrative burdens.”

For more information about licensing a KAUST technology, contact TTO@kaust.edu.sa