INFORMATION: AB 744 (Pérez) would establish the Office of Intellectual Property to identify, track and provide policy guidance for state agency management of intellectual property (IP) developed by state employees or with state funds; would authorize IP records and information to be shared among state agencies and departments but prohibits them from divulging information that is not expressly allowed or public; exempts IP agreements administered by the UC and CSU and agreements governed by the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Bond Act.

Background from the Assembly Floor Analysis:

According to the author, “To date there is no clear accounting of what IP the state owns or the types of agreements state agencies have entered into.  Three reports on the issue have expressed the need to establish a centralized IP tracking system. This disjointed system ultimately costs the state more money.  As technology continues to advance, state agencies without sufficient knowledge of how to protect IP will become increasingly vulnerable to unauthorized use and inability to capitalize on reduced contracts costs or increasing revenue to the state.  AB 744 sets up the framework to determine what IP the state owns and informs state agencies of their rights and abilities to protect the state’s IP.”

IP typically consists of copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets.  In November 2000, the Bureau of State Audits (BSA) published the report, “State-Owned IP,” which found that many state agencies have insufficient knowledge about IP they own and incomplete written policies on managing IP.  This could result in state agencies failing to act against individuals and entities that inappropriately use the state’s IP by profiting from products developed at state expense, unauthorized use of trademarks, and state patents.  BSA recommendations include developing an outreach campaign informing state agencies of their rights and abilities concerning IP and establishing guidelines for state agencies to administer their IP.  The BSA report identified more than 113,000 items of state-owned IP across 125 state agencies, but estimated that there were more.

Under this bill, OIP would be required to identify state IP, and establish and periodically update guidelines for state agencies to appropriately administer their IP.  These guidelines would include policies about when products should be considered IP, when products should be placed in the public domain, and when agencies should sell or license their IP.  OIP would also be required to develop an outreach campaign to help state agencies understand their rights with respect to their IP and to develop sample agreements to effectuate the state’s rights to IP developed by state employees.