Good Reads in Tech Transfer

Following on the heels of last week’s post about the hottest tech transfer topics on our blog this past year, I wanted to point out a few interesting articles and blogs that have caught Fuentek’s attention in recent months that are definitely worth a read.

If you haven’t already seen these write-ups, you definitely should set aside a few minutes for them.

1. A New Prescription: If you follow the #techtransfer hashtag on Twitter®, you’ve surely heard about this article by now. Written by Arizona State University’s R.F. (Rick) Shangraw Jr. and Augustine Cheng, the Rx offered up some highly actionable suggestions for improving tech transfer office (TTO) performance that we agree with… for the most part. As noted in the comments, which point to my blog post about ready-to-sign licenses, Fuentek believes there is a happy medium when it comes to standard agreements.

Let me be crystal clear: Standardized agreements makes sense in the very limited scope that UNC set up its Carolina Express License program, which targets university professors creating startups based upon life sciences/pharma technology. (See also the article on the RFID consortium I added in the comments to the UNC post.) It doesn’t apply to everything—and it shouldn’t. But you can also have standardized templates for your agreements that don’t have standardized terms—that’s another form of streamlining that can be helpful for technology licensing.

So, moving on to the next article…

2. University/Industry Partnerships Work: Don’t Kill the Golden Goose: This article by AUTM® president Robin Rasor of the University of Michigan’s Office of Technology Transfer observes that “If universities were run like businesses, they would not perform basic research designed to push forward the frontiers of learning.… The current partnership between U.S. universities, teaching hospitals and related non-profit organizations with American industry, while imperfect, leads the world in translating early stage research into products, jobs and new companies.” And she provides some impressive facts to back up her argument.

3. When Patents Attack: Patent trolls are definitely not the most positive thing for our industry, so to include this story on a list of “good reads” (listens?!) seems odd. But this is something that professionals in the tech transfer industry should be aware of. It is sad that our litigious society has led to the creation of these entities that use our imperfect patent law system as their weapon—they seek to make money by destroying value rather than creating it. It’s something I’ve seen coming for a while, and I have more to say about it… but that’s for a later post.

4. Commentary on Kauffman’s “Rules for Growth – Regarding University Technology Transfer” – An Objective View from a Growth Practitioner: This response to the Kauffman Foundation’s book on promoting innovation and growth through legal reform compares real-world data against theoretical concepts when it comes to university tech transfer, with some interesting findings. Author Rosemarie Truman “recently completed a comprehensive assessment of all university technology transfer frameworks and perform[ed] a subsequent benchmark.” (Members of the AUTM group on LinkedIn may have seen that Ms. Truman is currently conducting a qualitative analysis of where TTOs are doing well and where improvements are needed.)

5. Public & Private Sector’s Co-Creative Success: Although I’ve blogged here about my reservations regarding crowdsourcing, this article gives a good example where crowdsourcing was successful. Why? Because it was highly targeted and the people analyzing the submissions were very specialized and knew what they were looking at. BTW, you can read more about my crowdsourcing concerns in this guest article published on StartUp Beat.

And for a little fun…

6. Breakthroughs and Unlikely Inventions: Thanks to National Geographic (and @JHUTechTransfer’s tweets), we have the chance to enjoy a walk down memory lane with some of the most important patents in history… as well as a few “Wow, what were they thinking?!” moments. ☺

BTW, I’m also honored to point out that last month LES Insights, the online newsletter of the Licensing Executives Society, published two articles I coauthored with Fuentek’s Danielle McCulloch. They were:

  • Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: A Step-by-Step Process for Cost-Effective Technology Screening
  • The Threshing Continues: A Step-by-Step Process for In-Depth Technology Assessment

If you have feedback on these articles, please contact me – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What are the key articles and blogs you’re reading? Post a link to them in the comments below, or send us a private message via our Contact Us page.

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Posted by Laura Schoppe

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