Sometimes the most straightforward tech transfer situation can turn into something completely different. Sometimes the simple spin-out of a technology can morph into a larger collaborative R&D partnership. This is why Fuentek always takes a Symbiotic Innovation approach when helping our clients with technology transfer. And today’s Stories from the Field post describes just such a case.
We undertook a small, targeted active marketing campaign for a client who hoped to license out a novel technology. Licensing interest was lukewarm due to the technology’s need for additional testing and development, so we put the active marketing effort on the back burner and kept the online technology listing posted on the client’s Web site as a form of passive marketing. We had it on the Available Technologies section of our site too, and that’s where things got interesting.
The Fuentek technology listing was found by a large commercial firm looking for a near-term solution to a technical challenge. So we facilitated discussions to identify the various technical parameters and constraints that were crucial for both parties. Once it was clear that our client’s technology was a match for the firm’s needs—a technology demonstration within 3 months—we embarked on the many conference calls needed to navigate the agreement process and arrive at a collaboration agreement that pleased both parties and provided the quick turn-around test data that would be covered by the partnership agreement. But…
During this navigation process, the firm decided to slow down to take a look at the bigger picture of how our client’s technology might fit into its grander R&D efforts. Although some might be tempted to give up at this point from sheer exhaustion (those who have done deals know what we mean here ), we knew that this stepping back and thinking strategically on the firm’s part was a good thing. We could see that the potential for building a strong relationship was there, and we wanted our client to see it too. So we facilitated a face-to-face meeting that enabled both parties to outline their complementary R&D strengths and discuss the objectives of a bigger collaboration plan.
The company is now incorporating our client’s technology into their broader next-gen R&D strategy. This strategy will develop new game-changing products that will be used to secure new business. This will have a huge positive impact for our client. The client will get a partnership agreement and probably a license down the road. In fact, it is likely that new co-developed IP will also result.
The lesson: When developing an agreement and negotiating deals, be willing to move beyond the transactional approach and instead take a relationship-building approach. Patience may be your best bet, as is keeping not only the technical but also the larger business aspects of tech transfer in mind. Doing so will help you be innovative in finding the agreement that ultimately is favorable for all parties involved and likely bring about a larger win for all involved.
What do you think about this relationship vs. transactional approach to tech transfer? Leave a comment below or use our Contact Us page to send us your experiences privately.