September 25-26, 2003
ITEM 120-1001-R0903 Approval of University System/Employee Joint Venture; The University of Montana-Missoula
THAT: In accordance with Montana University System Policy 407, the Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes The University of Montana-Missoula to enter into a licensing arrangement and other contractual arrangements with Bee Alert Technology for intellectual property developed by University employees Jerry Bromenshenk, Colin Henderson, Steven Rice, and Robert Seccomb, each of whom has a significant financial interest in Bee Alert Technology.
EXPLANATION: The University of Montana employees Jerry Bromenshenk, Colin Henderson, Steven Rice and Robert Seccomb have and are developing technologies to condition bees to be attracted to unique chemicals. These “conditioned bees” can be used to detect land mines, unexploded ordnance, and explosives and to pollinate, with high efficiency, commercially valuable crops. Some of these technologies are protected by University-owned patents, some by copyrights and some by trade secrets.
The University of Montana wishes to grant licenses or to collaborate with Bee Alert Technology so that it may exploit these technologies commercially. Granting these licenses or other contemplated relationships between The University of Montana and Bee Alert Technologies will not interfere with any contractual obligations the University holds, but it will provide a business opportunity for a Montana-based company.
These licenses will cover the United States, as well as other parts of the world, and will contain provisions for The University of Montana to receive an up-front licensing fee and a percentage (ranging from 4% to 8%) of adjusted gross revenues generated by Bee Alert Technologies, Incorporated using technologies owned by The University of Montana. Already, The University of Montana has licensed portions of these technologies to other companies and part of the licensing arrangements requires these other companies to reimburse The University of Montana for patent expenses.
Granting these licenses and creating the other arrangements with Bee Alert Technologies will encourage these University scientists to develop the company as a new, profitable Montana venture and will set an example for other entrepreneurs from the University looking for opportunities for commercial use of their innovations and creations. The University will incur no cost for this agreement, and although expectations of large financial returns exist, they may be many years in coming. This agreement will assist in the formation and growth of a new small business for Montana and will establish goodwill with University employees.