Time Flies

The Standard Contract

By Douglas E Gogerty

Jim did not know too many members of the faculty at the law school, but he could not think of a better place to go for advice. He asked several of the faculty that he did know, and they all recommended that he meet with contractual law professor Mortimer Kenisser. Dr. Kenisser had been teaching law for 35 years, and he was friendly with several members of faculty. He had been very active in university business and had made several acquaintances along the way. Moreover, he loved his job. He had several offers to become the dean of several law schools, but he was very content with his current position. He was popular with students and staff equally. Most importantly for Jim, he was willing to consult with him on this contract.

Jim, brief case in hand, walked into Dr. Kenisser’s office. The two men exchanged greetings. "Sit down Jim," Dr. Kenisser said, "I will be with you in a moment."

Jim sat in one of the over stuffed chairs in front of Dr. Kenisser’s desk. Dr. Kenisser was grading student papers, and while he finished grading a student’s paper, Jim just looked around the room. He could not help but notice how neat Dr. Kenisser kept his office. Everything seemed to have a place. Even the pile of ungraded papers was stacked neatly in a pile, which was right next to a neatly stacked pile of graded papers. The graded paper that Jim could see had numerous red ink marks on it. Dr Kenisser made all the marks neatly in the spaces of the double spaced student’s paper. Dr. Kenisser wrote a few last notes on the paper he was grading and sat it neatly on the graded stack. "Well," Dr. Kenisser begins, "I understand you have a contract that you would like me to look over."

"Yes, here it is," Jim replied as he took the contract out of his brief case. "I have never dealt with the government in this manner before."

"No reason you should," responded the professor. "Your invention must be very important. Normally, the government would not get involved. They would let the private sector take care of it. They obviously do not want this technology to get into the hands of just anybody."

"I suppose that is true, but I would still like to perform my research. Is that possible under this contract?" inquired Jim.

"There is no mention of existing experimental technology. It only mentions further construction of these experimental devices," responded Dr. Kenisser.

"Would I be able to construct any additional devices?" inquired Jim.

"Not under this contract. You would probably be able to negotiate that matter. You should also be aware that if you sign this contract, you would have to cooperate with the governmental contractor in the design and construction of these devices. This may detract from your research and possibly teaching responsibilities."

"I hadn’t thought of that," admitted Jim. "Does it say what type of work I would have to do?"

"It isn’t that specific. You would likely have to do some consulting. They would bring you design plans and the like, and have you look them over. This is usually how this is done," explained the knowledgeable professor.

"Would that type of thing be negotiable?" continued Jim.

"Yes and no," responded Dr. Kenisser. "You see, the university has all rights to your research. The only way you can be rewarded for your efforts would be to act as a consultant. Otherwise, the university would be the only benefactor of this contract. This is a often used loop hole in the standard university contract. I suggest that you take advantage of this."

"Money is of little importance, but they probably would not be able to construct any useful device without me," inserted Jim. "Patents are one thing, but to actually know exactly how to put something together is quite different. Do you have any further recommendations?"

"No it is pretty standard. If you would like to construct additional devices, you should amend this contract. Otherwise, there is not anything out of the ordinary. The university and your department will do very well under this contract."

"I greatly appreciate your time," Jim said.

The two men shook hands, and Jim thanked Dr. Kenisser again. He placed the contract in his brief case and headed back to his office.

The government contractor who gave him the contract had said he has had several university professors work with his company. Thus, this would not be a new experience for them. The contractor was true to his word, and the contract was standard for this type of work. In addition, the university and his department would be compensated for Jim’s work. Thus, it appeared to be a win for everyone.

However, Jim did not like the fact that he could only work with his current designed time viewing device. How could he make improvements if I could not build new devices? "Ugh! I should have asked Dr. Kenisser about that," John grumbled to himself.

Everything was indicating that he should sign the contract. After all, what was the worst thing that could happen? He would always have his current device, and he could continue to do his current research projects.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on June 4, 2006 7:04 PM.

"1000 Word Friday" was the previous entry in this blog.

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