University of California employees, as well as visiting professors, researchers and others who use UC research facilities or resources, will be required to sign an amendment to a patent document that they signed when first coming to UC.

Beginning the week of Nov. 28, more than 200,000 UC personnel will receive emails from vendor VR Election Services (VRES) asking them to electronically sign the amendment. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory employees will not participate in the amendment process because a similar project is already underway at the Lab.

UC embarked on this project after recent court decisions in a Stanford lawsuit put the University's rights to patents and inventions at risk.

As a result of those court rulings, a provision in the University's Patent Acknowledgment or Agreement - which is signed by all employees and others who use University research facilities or receive gift, grant or contract funds through the University - no longer guarantees the effective assignment of rights to the University of California as intended.

To remedy this issue, UC has engaged VRES to gather electronic signatures on an amendment to the patent document. UC employees and visitors with UC email addresses will receive an email from VRES with a copy of the amendment and directions for signing it. Personnel without UC email addresses will receive the amendment and directions for signing via U.S. mail.

The email campaign will continue through Feb. 29, 2012, with individuals who do not sign the amendment receiving additional reminder emails throughout the three-month period.

"Signing this amendment will allow the University to meet its intellectual property obligations, accept sponsored research funding, and establish relationships with outside partners," said Lawrence Pitts, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Researchers, in particular, should be aware that it is necessary to sign the amendment in order to participate in activities covered by agreements in which the University has made a legal commitment regarding inventions.

The patent amendment does not change UC's Patent Policy or an individual's rights and entitlements regarding intellectual property with which they are associated.

More information about the patent amendment project, including frequently asked questions, is available on the At Your Service website at: