Compliance Issues

Research and Intellectual Property

"If Visual Compliance disappeared, I would not be able to do my job."

Compliance Officer, Research, New York

Trade compliance issues in research and intellectual property.

Whether you are doing academic research, or product engineering and development under contract, you need to be concerned with U.S. export controls that place restrictions on sensitive commodities, software, and technologies. Despite the fact that you may not be exporting goods in the traditional sense of shipping from one country to another, research can involve "deemed export" provisions that trigger the same regulatory requirements, and place the same responsibilities on researchers and their organizations or companies as "exporters." Note that the "fundamental research" exemption is neither automatic nor the only export compliance issue universities face.

Penalties for export control violations are severe, including substantial fines and criminal liability that can lead to jail terms of up to 30 years. The consequent damage to personal and corporate reputations can be catastrophic.

Research activities affected by export control regulations

For universities, export compliance is not as simple as reading contracts to determine if "fundamental exception" provisions are abrogated. As with research in corporate environments, in general, four main types of research activities are affected by export control regulations:

Corporate activities affected by export control regulations

The "deemed export" rule subjects many corporate activities related to controlled goods or technologies to legal constraints.

Classification of goods and technologies under ITAR and BIS

Classification involves determining which of the technologies or equipment in your research environments are controlled as military under the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Commerce Control List (CCL) or as military under the Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) United States Munitions List (USML).

Screening visitors, employees, contractors, etc.

If your goods or technologies are controlled you will need to be concerned with the formidable task of establishing and managing walls around the controlled goods or technologies to restrict access to activities under DDTC or BIS license, segregating these technologies from ineligible employees, visitors, students and contractors.

Managing licenses and license activities

You will also want to ensure you can prove adherence to the scope of government licenses or agreements through tracking of licensable activities, best achieved with solutions that help you delineate license scope, track employee understanding of their responsibilities, and record licensing activities.

Research / IP FAQ

Answers to frequently asked questions

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