IP Arms Race: 3 MD Anderson Scientists Share Proprietary Information with China

KHOU reports that the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has cut ties with three scientists accused of sharing proprietary, important information with China. This news ties into a bigger story of the National Institutes of Health efforts to stop the leaking of sensitive biomedical research in the United States. The three scientists were tenured professors at MD Anderson. Two of them resigned ahead of termination. A termination process for the third scientist is ongoing.

MD Anderson has identified three areas of concern for espionage including 1) diversion of intellectual property 2) sharing of confidential information on grant applications and 3) failure by some researchers to disclose substantial resources from outside organizations, including foreign entities, which could threaten to distort decisions about the correct use of NIH funds.

The United States is an open society. This is what makes it an incredible place for research, breakthrough innovation, and entrepreneurial dynamism. China has a fundamentally different government and society. While the U.S. still represents a social democracy, China represents a command and control economy—albeit it is evolving and unfolding in various different ways on a region by region basis. The U.S. and China are in a sort of IP arms race. While America must continue to remain open, dynamic and entrepreneurial, its institutions must establish policies, procedures and practices that protect its interest—it must be balanced. In that way the smartest people from around the global will come here to study, discover, pursue new inventions, launch new companies and hence contribute to the society. Institutions should seek to ensure the balance and the allure.