CERN Open Innovation Project Steps Up Collaboration 17/06/2015 by Eimear Murphy for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A collaboration between the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and leading information and telecommunications technology companies has entered a new phase in dealing with challenges in IT infrastructures. This new phase also marks the inclusion of public research organisations in the collaboration. Separately, the program director discussed the role of intellectual property rights in innovation at the lab. Started in 2001, the CERN openlab project is now in its fifth three- year phase. This time it is taking a turn toward greater complexity in problem-solving in order to drive innovation, according to CERN. Technical areas of the openlab are here. For the first time, CERN openlab held an open day event at CERN, on 10 June. At the open day, there were a number of keynotes and presentations from openlab members, including from research and industrial teams (such as Intel, Oracle and Siemens), contributors (Brocade, Cisco, IDT, Rackspace and Seagate) and public research organisations (the European Bioinformatics Institute and the GSI Helmholz Centre for Heavy Ion Research). Presentations focused on projects for openlab Phase V (2015-2017). Alberto Di Meglio, head of CERN openlab, outlined the different phases of the openlab in his presentation. Phase I began in 2003, Phase II in 2006, Phase III in 2009, Phase IV in 2012, and now Phase V in 2015. There is a continuous assessment of activities, he said. Alberto Di Meglio, head of CERN openlab © CERN Di Meglio gave an overview of CERN openlab. It is a framework for collaboration (“science-industry partnerships and collaborations”) based on three main elements or “constructive synergy” amongst three elements. These are: joint research (science-industry research), education, and efficient communication. Di Meglio said the motivation of CERN openlab since its inception has been to support the accelerator and experiment research programs in their IT infrastructure requirements. The idea, he said, is to support this type of research by using the CERN environment itself to “test and push technology forward,” adapting to the needs of the laboratory. It also is to work together with the companies to push technology forward, “to and beyond their limits.” This is done by “identifying and managing projects between technical teams in CERN and research laboratories” and companies that are world leaders in different IT sectors, Di Meglio said. He also discussed the main elements behind this type of collaboration, and said “there must be a mutual interest from the laboratories and companies in working together on this topic,” in addition to mutual benefits and a common longer term strategy. One of the new public research organisations to join CERN openlab is the European Bioinformatics Institute, which is the IT arm of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL-EBI). Steven Newhouse, head of Technical Services, EBI, presented on the research infrastructure needed for life science. EMBL-EBI is an international, non-profit institution, and according to Newhouse’s presentation, its mission is to provide freely available data and bioinformatics services to all facets of the scientific community in ways that promote scientific progress. Newhouse discussed the services that EBI provides. It is a collaborative enterprise. First, labs around the world send their data to EBI and the data is stored freely. In return, the submitters annotate and provide metadata of the experiments or the study that generated the data. Then the data is archived and classified by EBI. Next, EBI feeds the data through a “whole range of pipelines” that assist in extracting information from the data, the data is then annotated and made publicly available for other researchers “to build upon” and work with. Intellectual Property Watch asked Newhouse after the event about EMBL-EBI’s collaboration with CERN openlab. “CERN openlab provides a collaborative framework for EMBL-EBI to work with other research communities in tackling common issues in the area of big data analysis and the supporting research infrastructure,” he said. “It is therefore important in helping us accelerate our future infrastructure developments.” Newhouse told Intellectual Property Watch that “EMBL-EBI and CERN face many of the same data handling challenges – some of which are also faced by other research communities.” As a result there is an interest in “collaborating around common interests such as large-scale cloud-based big data analysis, data movement, and large-scale data storage solutions.” European Bioinformatics Institute’s Steven Newhouse © CERN Intel has been a partner company of CERN openlab for a number of years. After the event, Intellectual Property Watch asked Marie-Christine Sawley, Exascale Lab director at Intel, about Intel’s collaboration with CERN openlab. She said, “CERN is a unique environment thanks to the extreme conditions deployed for the physics experiments, to its network of collaborating institutions and the extraordinary scientific and technological knowledge. Sawley said Intel is committed to making Intel technology help push back the “frontiers of both science and technology” and learn from it. Additionally, she said, “Collaborating with openlab V is for us a great opportunity to have our technology and its innovative usages in space, particle and medical applications research, tested at the frontiers of what is possible today.” Role of Innovation, IP Di Meglio discussed the role of innovation in CERN openlab with Intellectual Property Watch after the event. “Bringing together leading experts from ICT companies and public research laboratories is an important way of driving innovation. CERN openlab plays a key role in this,” he said. Intellectual Property Watch asked Di Meglio how intellectual property rights are managed from the resulting innovations. He said CERN openlab collaborations are based on two agreements to be signed by members. These include the Framework Agreement, which is a bilateral agreement between CERN and the individual CERN openlab members. This sets the ground rules. Additionally, there is the Project Agreement which is signed under the rules of the Framework Agreement. The Project Agreement describes the technical work to be done for each project in addition to any clause that is specific to that project. The Project Agreement, he detailed, “can then contain more detailed IP management clauses.” The clauses are negotiated on a case-by-case basis between CERN and the other project parties. They “depend on what type of results each project generates” such as hardware, software, algorithms, and best practices, he said. CERN openlab, he said, tends to “seek agreements by which IP is assigned to one of the parties, while the other parties retain the non-exclusive, non-revocable, free right of using the results as part of their development activities. For production activities, we establish separate licensing agreements.” “As a general rule,” he said, “CERN accepts to assign the IP to another party if the results can only be used as part of a company product, for example, small plug-ins or extensions to existing functionality based or development based on CERN experts’ feedback.” “On the contrary,” he added, “if results are stand-alone technologies that do not require being integrated in third-party products to work or that have been developed as part of an established programs (for example an open source project), we tend to keep the IP and establish appropriate licensing agreements at the end of the project. “In this latter case, usually the process is managed by the CERN Knowledge Transfer office, rather than CERN openlab,” he said. Eimear Murphy is a researcher at IP-Watch. She is an LL.M. graduate from American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC with a specialty in Intellectual Property and Information Policy issues. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Eimear Murphy may be reached at email@example.com."CERN Open Innovation Project Steps Up Collaboration" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.