Thursday, October 26, 2006

Arlington Speaks on CIRM's Orphan Software

The head of the Arlington Group, the defunct grant review software firm used by the California stem cell agency, says that CIRM has not acquired the copyright or intellectual property rights to the program used by the agency and other major grant providers.

Earlier, we reported that the San Diego Union-Tribune quoted CIRM President Zach Hall as saying that the agency owned the computer codes involving the grant review program. (See item below.)

In response to an inquiry from the California Stem Cell Report, Mary Taylor, CEO and founder of Arlington, provided the following statement that we are carrying verbatim:

"CIRM acquired the rights to the Easygrants software source code to use, modify, or have modified for them for their business purposes.

"They did not acquire the intellectual property, distribution rights, copyright, etc. Second, Arlington Group delivered to CIRM all of the work that had been done to date on their system, including significant documentation of requirements for the system configuration, as well as the initial development work. With this in hand, when they begin working with the new development group, they can hit the ground running.

"Finally, with this transaction, CIRM is saving the state money on license fees for 2007 and forward. So while it was an unexpected challenge, worst of all for AG, CIRM has taken the steps needed to ensure their success and be good stewards of the state's money."

Why is all this important? Orphaned software can be a disaster. Often it is poorly documented internally, without explanations of how the code was constructed and works. When glitches occur, that makes it extremely difficult to maintain by the purchasers. That can mean that information is lost and cannot be compiled properly. Hopefully that is not the case here. Sphere: Related Content

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