It is a given that a university can provide considerable impetus to new researchers if it were a part-shareholder in a big tech firm, like Facebook or Google. An excellent example is Stanford University. Being the nursery of many start-ups, Stanford has successfully funded innovation, by acquiring stakes in enterprises hatched by alumni—Google, for instance—using the university’s resources. Now, Indian universities may be able to do this too. As per the Centre’s new draft rules on intellectual property rights, universities will be able to stake a claim in the monetisation of any innovation that came about using their resources. When an invention or finding is monetised, revenue sharing would be in a 60:40 ratio, with the smaller portion accruing to the academic institution; the share of the university won’t be allowed to fall below 25%. This applies to video classes, and MOOCs as well; it is only in the case of copyright that the academic institution would enjoy a non-exclusive, royalty-free, irrevocable, worldwide licence.
Although most engineering institutes have incubation centres, their contribution in hatching successful start-ups has been minimal. This, even though start-ups in recent years have seen a phenomenal rise in funding. A financial incentive will prod universities to improve mechanisms for incubating research and entrepreneurship. A change in policy to favour start-up-fostering colleges can alter this. Indian universities and the government need to follow the Stanford model if Institutes of Eminence are to be nurtured. IPR policy can be a good step towards fostering innovation.