When the Public Does Not Have a Right to Know: How the California Public Records Act Is Deterring Bioscience Research and Development

By: Nader Mousavi & Matthew J. Kleiman

Many bioscience firms collaborate with public research universities to conduct innovative research through sponsored research agreements. Companies sponsoring this research usually require strict confidentiality from their academic partners in order to protect sensitive information that, if revealed, could put them at a competitive disadvantage and threaten their ability to obtain future patents. Yet, ambiguous disclosure requirements in the California Public Records Act preclude California’s public research universities from guaranteeing that proprietary information provided in connection with sponsored research agreements will remain confidential. Entering into such agreements with public universities in California is therefore a risky proposition for the sponsors. This iBrief argues that unless this is corrected, many of these public/private partnerships, which often lead to significant advances in science and medicine, may be deterred.

Cite: 2005 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0023

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