The University of Minnesota is hoping that what has stood between it and more business-backed research is the haggling.
U leaders announced a new program Friday that simplifies contracts for industry-sponsored research, offering exclusive rights to the resulting inventions for an initial fee. They hope that by exchanging back-door dealing for upfront terms, they will put to bed the university's reputation as difficult to deal with.
No longer would the two sides spend months quibbling over royalties that could be years off. Under the new model, businesses would pay a 1 percent royalty on annual sales, only after they exceed $20 million.
"We're so busy protecting ourselves we're losing lots of potential activity," said John Frobenius, a member of the U's Board of Regents, which heard Friday about the Minnesota Innovation Partnerships Program.