There’s a reason that universities around the world support research and development. For every good idea that is generated through R&D funded by the university, there’s the possibility of lucrative licensing deals, new companies and investment, and patents.We are all experiencing the mess that patents causes, you only have to look at the number of mobile patent lawsuits there are to see how ridiculous a situation is. Technology companies realize this, and some of the biggest players in the tech field are taking action to stop it happening in the future. One of those companies is Intel.Intel wants to and needs to invest in research, and part of that effort involves supporting students at universities. The company does this through a range of measures including creating Intel Science and Technology Centers (ISTC) on campus, focused on specific areas of technology development. Intel offers to fund such centers with $2.5 million a year for 5 years going directly to the university. In return, Intel provides an “investigator” who works alongside an representative from the University. Both support three Intel/academic researchers.This all sounds great for the university, but there is one other clause to them signing up for a center. The university and the researchers have to agree that everything they create and develop must be open sourced.By including that stipulation Intel sidesteps all the problems that come with patents. Instead, anyone can use the end result of the research without fear of lawsuits or royalties.If you are wondering if enforced open source is putting universities off signing up to host ISTCs, it isn’t. Stanford University has a Visual Computing ISTC, Berkeley has a Secure Computing center, and Carnegie Mellon has both a Cloud Computing and Embedded Computing ISTC.via Innovation Excellence and IntelMatthew’s OpinionAlthough it may surprise some that a private company focused on technology innovation would decide to do this, it makes a lot of sense for Intel.Intel is a massive company with huge turnover and therefore a desirable target for patent lawsuits due to the potential payouts. Intel makes its money off the sale of hardware, and it is very good at manufacturing cutting-edge components. If someone at an ISTC comes up with a better way to design transistors or cut power consumption for x86 processors, for example, Intel will be first to market with the technology because they are setup to do that. It doesn’t matter if the idea is open source, Intel will likely get there first and competitors are welcome to follow.By encouraging the brightest minds Intel also gets first dibs on hiring these people. If you give someone funding and time to develop their ideas, offering them a job at the end of that process is likely going to be met with gratitude and a very motivated new employee. That bodes very well for their future work and directly influences the success of Intel as a company.I am hoping such thinking spreads to other technology-focused companies and we can see an end to the wasteful and expensive patent lawsuits that ultimately end up stifling innovation and crippling smaller companies unable to fund court room battles.