Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Still wondering -can UC force me to sign "patent amendment" that is "not a change in patent policy" ????

Just got an annoying email regarding patents that is a follow up to one I wrote about previously (Wondering – can UC force me to sign new patent agreement?).  I have appended the text of the email below.  I am still wondering if the University of California can actually force me to sign this agreement.  In addition, I am wondering about the competence and/or honesty of the people behind this amendment as it is pretty clear it is a major change and not as they claim in essence no change at all.  If it is really in essence no change - then what is the point?  If it is a major change why was there little if any discussion prior to the edict?

For other comments and questions about the UC attempt to force employees to sign this agreement see UC Patent Amendment: To Sign or Not to Sign? by my brother (I did not know until a Google search that he had written this post in December ... I guess we need to talk more) and this post Sample language for my UC friends and
UC Patent Amendment: To Sign or Not to Sign? | UC San Diego ... and Davis Faculty Association » Blog Archive » UC's Patent Amendment ...

UPDATE: someone thought the email might have been a PHISHING attack: Fwd: PLEASE SIGN NOW: UC Patent Amendment - Micronet at UC ...

I find the style and tactics of UC on this to be obnoxious and bullying.  I fight for many many things for UC and UC Davis.  Being bullied into signing a amendment that is claimed to not be any change even though it is clearly a big change - not something I can support.

Here is the email, which I note, had as the header a big seal of the University of California - I assume to try and intimidate me into signing.

Dear UC Colleague,

This is your final reminder to sign the University of California's amendment to the Patent Acknowledgment or Agreement you signed when you joined UC. You have until Feb. 29 to sign the amendment through the electronic process outlined below.

The Patent Acknowledgment or Agreement you previously signed requires you to promptly report and fully disclose potentially patentable inventions. You also acknowledged an obligation to assign to the University rights to inventions and patents conceived or developed while employed by the University or while using University research facilities or UC gift, grant, or contract research funds.

As a result of recent court decisions, UC's ability to meet its various obligations associated with rights to inventions and patents are at risk. It is important that you sign an Amendment to the Patent Acknowledgment or Agreement you previously signed. This amendment is not unique to UC. Other universities are taking similar action to protect their intellectual property rights.

This is not a change in the Patent Policy; it is simply an amendment that clarifies the existing Acknowledgment or Agreement in light of the court decisions.

Your electronic signature on the Patent Acknowledgment/Agreement Amendment available here will ensure that the University is able to fulfill its intellectual property obligations to research sponsors, industrial partners, the federal government and others.

The Amendment also helps to protect the University and its employees should future consulting or visitor arrangements inadvertently give rights away.

Signing the Amendment is easy. Simply write down your PIN number shown below; then click on the signature link to sign your Patent Acknowledgment/Agreement Amendment. You will also need your Employee ID number, which you can find on your earnings statement available by signing in to your personal account on At Your Service Online (https://atyourserviceonline.ucop.edu/). You will be able to view the Amendment prior to signing.

Personal Identification Number : XXXX Link to Sign Patent Amendment 
(or paste this URL into your browser: http://www.vres.us/ucpatent.html.)

Thank you for promptly signing,

Please do not respond to this e-mail.
This e-mail was sent by:
VR Election Services,
3222 Skylane Dr Bldg 100
Carrollton, TX, 75006.
VR Election Services, an independent firm, is conducting this election on behalf of the University of California. More details are available on At Your Service (http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/employees/policies_employee_labor_relations/patent-acknowledgment).

Please note: Your PIN is personalized for you and should not be shared with or forwarded to another.

Estimado colega de la UC,

Este es su final recordatorio para firmar la enmienda de la Universidad de California al Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes que usted firmó cuando entró a la UC. Tendrá hasta el 29 de febrero para firmar la enmienda através del proceso electrónico que se describe abajo.

El Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes que usted firmó previamente requiere que usted informe con prontiud y divulgue por completo cualquier invención potencialmente patentable. Usted también reconoció la obligación de asignar a la Univeridad los derechos a las invenciones y patentes concebidas o desarrolladas durante su empleo en la Universidad o mientras use las instalaciones investigativas de la Universidad u obsequios, subvenciones o fondos de contratos para la investigación de la UC.

Como resultado de decisiones judiciales recientes, la capacidad de la UC para cumplir con sus diversas obligaciones en relación con los derechos a invenciones y patentes conllevan un riesgo. Es importante que firme una Enmienda al Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes que usted firmó previamente. Esta enmienda no es algo único de la UC. Otras universidades están iniciando acciones similares para proteger sus derechos de propiedad intelectual.

Esto no es un cambio en las Normativas de Patentes; es, sencillamente, una enmienda que aclara el actual Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes, a la luz de las decisiones judiciales.

Su firma electrónica en la Enmienda del Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes aquí disponible asegurará que la Univeridad sea capaz de cumplir con sus obligaciones de propiedad intelectual ante los patrocinadores de investigaciones, socios industriales, el gobierno federal y otros.

La Enmienda también ayuda a proteger a la Univeridad y a sus empleados en caso de que futuros acuerdos de consultoría o de visitas inadvertidamente cedieran los derechos.

Firmar la Enmienda es fácil. Sencillamente escriba su Número de Identificación Personal (PIN, por sus siglas en inglés), que aparece abajo; entonces haga clic en el enlace de la firma para firmar su Enmienda al Acuerdo o Reconocimiento de Patentes. Usted también necesitará su Número de Identificación de Empleado, el cual podrá encontrar en la declaración de ganancias, disponible al entrar a su cuenta personal en At Your Service Online (https://atyourserviceonline.ucop.edu/). Usted será capaz de ver la Enmienda antes de la firma.

Número de Identificación Personal: XXXX Link to Sign Patent Amendment
(o pegue este URL en su buscador: http://www.vres.us/ucpatent.html.)

Gracias por firmar con prontitud,

Por favor no responda a este email.
Este e-mail fue enviado por:
VR Election Services,
3222 Skylane Dr Bldg 100
Carrollton, TX, 75006.
VR Election Services, una empresa independiente, está efectuando esta elección en nombre de la Univeridad de California. Más detalles disponibles en At Your Service (http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/employees/policies_employee_labor_relations/patent-acknowledgment).

Por favor note que: Su PIN es algo personalizado para usted y no deberá compartirse ni remitirse a otros.


  1. You know, I think that the UC, and UC Davis in particular, has legal insurance as one of its base benefits. If I were you, I'd totally drag that to a lawyer, courtesy of the UC.

  2. "PLEASE SIGN NOW: UC Patent Amendment"? My built in spamometer went off as soon as I saw this subject matter heading. No way this is real sez I and I would have tossed it in the trash.
    Cheers, Eric

  3. Also, is it really the policy of UC to have official announcements translated into Spanish? That seems a bit unusual (and spammy) but maybe I just work at an institute that isn't quite so multiculturally savvy,

  4. JB - was wondering that too --- I don't think I have ever received a bilingual email announcement from UC before

  5. The University of California sent out a new email request today, so I finally started looking into the details.

    First, I don't sign a contract of consequence without having an attorney review it. I don't recall signing the original patent agreement when I started at UC; it requires a witness, so it seems to me this is something I would remember. Presented with the 1997 form, I would have wanted my attorney to review, since I was on three Scientific Advisory Boards at the time. So... I'm not sure what my status is.

    Second, web search turned up Jonathan's blog (Thank you, Jonathan!) and his link to the following review: http://ucsdfa.org/uc-patent-amendment-to-sign-or-not-to-sign/482 This is the best summary I've found of the pros and cons of the UC's attempt to elicit signatures from all faculty.

    My next step: I'll turn to an attorney for review.


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