Thank you for the thoughtful post. Four points should be clarified, however:
(1) HPN owns your work when you register to enter the Competition: According to Section 21 of the Rules, every competitor grants HPN (and any company they "designate") a full license to the prediction algorithm
you use to create your entry. This occurs at the moment you register for the Competition. Here is a copy of the key section of Section 21, with highlights:
"By registering for the Competition,
each Entrant (a) grants to Sponsor and its designees a
worldwide, exclusive (except with respect to Entrant), sub-licensable (through multiple tiers), transferable, fully paid-up, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right to use, not use, reproduce,
distribute (through multiple tiers), create derivative works of, publicly perform, publicly display, digitally perform, make, have made,
sell, offer for sale and import each Entry and the Prediction Algorithm used to produce the Entry (collectively, the "Licensed Materials")..."
In short, every competitor grants a full license to HPN when you initially register for the Competition. This type of "click through" agreement is enforceable in the United States.
(2) You could be forced to deliver the actual algorithm: If HPN decides to enforce this agreement against
you (particularly in the United States), their legal team could launch 'discovery' and force you to disclose your email, all communication and work products related to the Competition, etc. Simply sending in a bogus formula / algorithm would provide no protection.
(3) They own your work -- and can demand a copy -- whether you win or not: According to Section 21, you grant
a full license to HPN when you register, whether you win a prize or not. This is one of the most surprising sections of the agreement. As I noted previously, I would have no problem granting a license to HPN if we won a prize; after all, they funded
the Competition. Section 21 goes much further, however.
(4) You give up the right to sell or distribute your work: This is the second surprising part of Section 21. Not only
does HPN own all of your work, you can't sell it to any other company, period. You can't even give it away for free, to promote improved healthcare! Here is the key clause:
"Entrant may use the Licensed Materials solely for his/her/its own patient management and other internal business purposes
but may not grant or otherwise transfer to any third party any rights to or interests in the Licensed Materials whatsoever."
Again, you give up your rights the minute you register for the Competition -- you don't have to send in an Entry or win a prize.
I sincerely hope that HPN management will consider revising these terms. Our not-for-profit university, for example, has an advanced predictive
solution, and we would love to enter it in the Competition. We would also be happy to grant a full license to HPN if we won a prize.
Most experienced researchers and predictive analysis experts who read Section 21 carefully will also be detered.
I am going to contact Dr. Richard Merkin, President and CEO of HPN, to see if we can resolve these issues. If I receive a response, I will
let the Forum know.