kml0000In her recent Wall Street Journal article “Universities Push Harder Into Realm of Startups,” reporter Ruth Simon observed that “universities are stepping up efforts to create ‘spinouts,’ or business startups born from some of the cutting-edge research of their students or faculty. Some schools are creating funds that help cover startup costs.” She mentions several schools’ efforts to support their spinout/startup companies, including the University of Minnesota’s Discovery Capital Investment Program, the University of Wisconsin’s Ideadvance Seed Fund, and the University of California’s independent UC Ventures. Yet another funding trend is occurring that focuses on an earlier segment of the commercialization pipeline, seeking to address what Simon rightly observed as an obstacle to university spinouts: “Technologies emerging from research labs are often embryonic.” This trend, known as translational funding, is more and more in the news. Continue reading

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Questionnaire conceptHaving first-hand experience with starting up a brand new technology transfer office (TTO), I have watched with great interest as universities and other institutions have formed (and reformed) their TTOs. In the past few years, it seems that new TTOs have been popping up like wildflowers. (Can you tell I’m a gardener?) And reorganizations of already-established TTOs are just as commonplace. This flurry of activity is not surprising given the increased focus on tech transfer in the media and policy discussions both on the national stage and at the state level. Yet little has been written about the experiences of those establishing new (or renewed) TTOs.

So we are conducting a short survey (<10 minutes) on these offices’ challenges and successes. We'll share the results on the Fuentek blog early in 2015. Continue reading

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NASA photoResearchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a patent-pending method for fabricating aerogel composites for thermal insulation applications — and NASA is now making this technology available for licensing. NASA’s award-winning engineer Frances Hurwitz developed the technology in collaboration with Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI). In fact, the two organizations have a joint-ownership agreement (JOA) in place for the intellectual property (IP). The JOA specifies the roles and responsibilities for patent prosecution and technology marketing, and it authorizes NASA Glenn to represent OAI during license negotiations. Quite frankly, this agreement is a big win for potential licensees:… Continue reading

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ExchangingBizCards_iStock_000012401409_smallToday brings us to my final Metrics Monday post on metrics for new — or newly reorganized — technology transfer offices (TTOs). Today’s focus is on how you are doing on those all-important final steps to commercialization: marketing and licensing. The TTO at virtually any university, non-profit, or government R&D lab is striving to maximize the benefits of the institution’s research to the public. This overarching, long-term goal is coupled with maximizing the “return” to the institution and perhaps the larger community. Of course, the metrics used to calculate that return can… Continue reading

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MorePaperwork_iStock_000011922851_smallI’m back with another Metrics Monday post about the types of metrics that new (and newly reorganized) technology transfer offices (TTOs) can monitor while waiting for the long-term metrics to make sense. Ensuring that invention disclosures and your technology portfolio are being processed effectively is key to keeping the office running efficiently. As your office matures, the TTO’s productivity in processing cases should increase. So this is a key short-term goal to focus on. One of the general metrics for monitoring for case processing productivity is the percent of… Continue reading

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Laura Schoppe's article "Cutting-Edge Tech: A How-To Guide for Corporate Licensing Officers" appeared in issue 67 of IAM magazineUniversities and government labs — especially in the United States — are keen to transfer technologies into commercial ventures. It can be tough, but not impossible, for corporates to engage with those organisations and find those innovations. So begins an article I was asked to write for Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) magazine. Entitled “Cutting-Edge Tech: A How-To Guide for Corporate Licensing Officers,” this article is now available for downloading from our In-Depth Insights page. Thanks, IAM, for granting reprint permission.Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Research and Development, Licensing and Deal Making, Technology Sourcing | Tagged , , | Comments Off on How-To Tips for Corporate Licensing Officers Looking for University/Government Technologies

3researcherswithlightbulbs_iStock_000035766652_smallWhen it comes to invention disclosures, a TTO’s overarching goal is to ensure that any and all commercially viable inventions discovered within the R&D labs are disclosed to the TTO. In order to successfully achieve that long-term goal, the TTO must ensure that researchers (1) recognize their obligations relating to intellectual property (IP), (2) are aware of the existence of your office and how to work with you, and (3) understand (in general) the process and benefits of commercialization. To achieve these three sub-goals, new TTOs especially must do… Continue reading

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IRS_iStock_000017797441SmallI wish to offer an answer to the RFI’s third Overarching Question: What specific actions can the Federal Government take to build and sustain U.S. strengths including its entrepreneurial culture, flexible labor markets, world-class research universities, strong regional innovation ecosystems, and large share of global venture capital investment? My answer: Change Section 6.02 of Revenue Procedure 2007-47 (from IRB 2007-29 issued on July 16, 2007) regarding corporate-sponsored research so as to better ensure that such innovative R&D occurs in U.S. universities rather than overseas. This change can serve as a no-cost solution that can have a positive impact on local/regional economies without creating a financial burden on the federal government or on U.S. taxpayers. Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Research and Development, Economic Development, Technology Sourcing | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Change the IRS’s “Private Use in Bonded Facilities” Regulation

Group Of BabiesAny individual tech transfer success requires a long lead time. Yet, stakeholders want to see progress NOW! I know how frustrating that can be, yet they deserve to know how you’re doing. And you need to know how you’re doing. But this is challenging when the TTO is brand new or so newly reorganized that the full impact of your work can’t be known. So I’m going to offer up three general areas on which to focus early in the life of your TTO. Tracking metrics in these three areas will help put a new office on the right path to increase the probability of long-term success. The three areas to track are… Continue reading

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AdvancingWomenInSTEM_SchoppeInterviewRecently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by JJ DiGeronimo of the organization Advancing Women in STEM about my career trajectory, my leap into technology transfer, and what motivated me to start Fuentek in 2001. I was also asked for my advice for women who are newly hired for — or trying to get — a job in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). I was able to share a few ideas during the interview, but today I’d like to elaborate on that list. Actually, this advice applies to women going into non-STEM professions too. Continue reading

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