NCHICA is a North Carolina nonprofit corporation that has qualified as a publicly-supported, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. NCHICA will be subject to all of the limitations imposed on Section 501(c)(3) organizations and it is understood that NCHICA must serve public rather than private interests.
The primary purpose of NCHICA is to foster the development and implementation of a statewide healthcare information system for the purpose of improving the delivery, quality, accessibility and efficiency of health care services in North Carolina by the utilization of advanced information, telecommunications, and telemedicine technologies, Many of the activities of NCHICA will involve the integration of technologies of member organizations in order to create an open-architecture, interoperable information network. The creation of new technology is not a primary purpose of NCHICA, but it is possible that the creation of new technology and intellectual property will follow out of NCHICA’s work.
The purpose of this policy statement is to provide guidance to the officers, directors and members of NCHICA concerning the policies that will govern the intellectual property developed by NCHICA.
Intellectual Property Policies
Several general policies will be followed by NCHICA with respect to intellectual property as follows:
1. Those who pay for the development of intellectual property may generally control its use.
2. Contributors of intellectual property to NCHICA’s activities shall retain ownership and control of such property unless otherwise agreed to in writing. Contributing participants in a project may wish to provide preferential pricing or access to other participants.
- NCHICA’s “general program” shall mean research activities directly undertaken by NCHICA staff or commissioned by NCHICA. Intellectual property developed as part of NCHICA’s general program will be owned by NCHICA, administered by its officers and controlled by its Board of Directors. All members of NCHICA shall have rights to use the intellectual property so developed by NCHICA pursuant to reasonable, non-discriminating terms and conditions specified by the Board of Directors of NCHICA. The Board of Directors may make any or all intellectual property so developed by NCHICA available to the public at large on terms and conditions that the Board deems appropriate but, wherever possible, the Board shall try to make the intellectual property available to as many persons or entities in the public at large as possible consistent with the need for cost recovery and contribution to NCHICA’s ongoing operations.
- Members of NCHICA should have some access to technology developed in NCHICA collaborative projects outside the general program, even if they did not participate in or did not assist with the funding of the project. The general rule is that other NCHICA members will be able to know what and why a technology was developed, but not how. This would mean, at a minimum, access to non-confidential reports, consistent with paragraph 7 below, that would be required from each of the research activities of NCHICA. Such preference for NCHICA members may also include a discount on licensing fees.
- As a general rule, technology developed in a collaborative project outside the general program should be made available within no later than three years of the development of that technology for licensing at reasonable, non-discriminatory rates to other members of NCHICA and to other persons in North Carolina that would be involved in the healthcare information network. As a general rule, revenues from the licensing of technologies should be distributed, unless otherwise decided by the Board of Directors, two-thirds to the participants and one-third to NCHICA.
- All members performing research in connection with NCHICA, including collaborative research not conducted as part of NCHICA’s general program, will do so under research and development agreements that will control the use of the intellectual property developed. Sample agreements approved by the Board of Directors will be modified for each project as appropriate.
- NCHICA will publish the scientific information or principles that result from research activities undertaken that would be useful or beneficial to the interested public. Where members fund research and obtain rights to the intellectual property resulting from the research, NCHICA will not, however, publish such scientific information or research in advance of the time at which it can be made public without jeopardy to the funding member’s rights by reasonably diligent action to secure any patents or copyrights resulting from the research. Members who fund research will have a right to review reports on the research prior to publication, but not to edit them.
Requirements of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code to Govern
The foregoing policies are intended to comply with Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. If the officers of NCHICA determine that the application of these principles would require NCHICA to conduct or carry on activities not permitted to be carried on by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3), the officers may modify such policies to bring them into compliance with such section.
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