They needed access to everyone's researchers who are working on solving this problem
Researchers in industry can't shut up, talking about their basic research. It's a well-studied effect, and, in fact, industry employers count on this - they pay their researchers, their researchers get to work on their pet projects, and by doing so they stay plugged into the broader industry, and both they and their employers benefit from this arrangement. It's a non-zero-sum game.
And even though it's been economically validated, it just makes sense - to pay a researcher to wall himself off from his industry (thereby making him forever unemployable beyond the current employer) would be _far_ too expensive.
Sure, there are a few trade secrets that get kept, but that's the exception, not the rule.
Uber apparently thinks they need to own patents on self driving technology rather than just mass produced self driving cars ASAP.
No argument that the patent system screws everything up. But call the CMU licensing and commercialization department and ask them what they think. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
If CMU were championing the abolition of patents, I'd feel sorry for them.