Intellectual Property Rights for Digital Design and Manufacturing: Issues and Recommendations

August 2014
Topics: Data Management, Intellectual Property
Michael A. Aisenberg, The MITRE Corporation
Debi Davis, The MITRE Corporation
Dr. Timothy D. Kehoe, The MITRE Corporation
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​The Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) program of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has objectives internal to its traditional research aims and related to larger national manufacturing roles in defense preparedness, and, by extension, in American manufacturing competitiveness. Pursuing these manufacturing objectives through innovation and invention are consistent with, but from a defense policy perspective, exist independently of the recently announced national Advanced Manufacturing program and its establishment of 15 pilot and demonstration centers. Inevitably, however, whenever “innovation” and “invention” are engaged, the issue of intellectual property rights comes into play.

This paper examines the intellectual property rights issues associated with the use of a digital process for developing design, performance and manufacturing specifications for complex assemblies like land, sea and air craft. The intellectual property rights issues are addressed from the perspective of commercial organizations; these issues include understanding risks of creating and sharing new manufacturing models; providing tangible incentives (both economic and technological) to collaborating participants in a non-traditional commercial structure for further development of the technology; and implementing rules and procedures that will appeal to participants in both the short- and long-term.

This paper proposes a specific, but adaptable framework for the operation of the Intellectual Property Rights management mechanisms necessary to bring the AVM digital design process to maturity. It also includes descriptions of essential institutional structures, governance processes and agreements required to define the scope of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) within a collaborative development environment, the essential IPR management role of the entity, the operating elements necessary to incentivize technical investigators, the records management to enable the use of existing proprietary know-how, and the essential structures to hold, share, and protect the know-how developed by the collaboration.​

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