Last month, Fuentek’s Laura Schoppe and I led a webinar discussing how technology transfer offices (TTOs) can improve their performance and productivity by effectively using standard operating procedures (SOPs). Our insights are based on first-hand experience, best practices, and real-world examples from providing consulting services to dozens of TTOs. We live tweeted the presentation, and today I’d like to revisit and elaborate on those tweets.
I was recently chatting with folks in the technology transfer office (TTO) at the University of Vermont (UVM). They asked Fuentek to help again this year with evaluating proposals for the SPARK-VT gap funding program. SPARK-VT is designed “to address the challenges of translating novel research into the community” by funding additional research and commercialization. Last year, Fuentek was asked to help evaluate proposals.
In providing technology transfer services to R&D organizations, Fuentek has developed strategies for maximizing team strengths and skills, solving organizational pickles, and communicating value to leadership. Today’s post can help significantly improve your capabilities and operations. For example, when it comes to understanding how your IP management team is performing, metrics are your greatest ally. They help you get where you want to go by accurately revealing where you are.
At a growing number of universities, technology transfer offices (TTOs) are being asked to educate students about protecting IP, evaluating a technology’s market potential, licensing, and so forth. Making classroom connections has several benefits for the TTO. Read about AUTM panelists’ efforts as well as university training offerings for current and future tech transfer professionals.
Although not nearly as costly as hosting tech transfer events, attending a relevant industry conference still requires a significant financial and time commitment. So, it’s important for your technology transfer office (TTO) attendees to achieve tangible outcomes. (Plus, you don’t want it perceived a junket.) Here is some advice based on our extensive experience supporting TTOs.
Following up on my last post discussing best practices for using events as a form of technology transfer marketing, today I’d like to discuss the specifics of hosting your own event. Putting on a tech transfer–focused event can be challenging. Even relatively small events require significant planning, not only from a content perspective but also all the logistics. Here’s what we have learned in helping a range of technology transfer offices (TTOs) put on a variety of events.
Many university technology transfer offices (TTOs) use events as a key tool for marketing their innovations to potential licensees, attending industry conferences, hosting technology showcases, and presenting web-based technology briefings. Events such as these can provide a valuable opportunity to engage with potential licensees, sponsored-research partners, and startup investors. And when done effectively, events can help you take a major step forward in securing a deal.
What makes an invention disclosure a high-quality invention disclosure? This is an interesting question that has nothing to do with the quality of the technology. Fundamentally, a high-quality disclosure includes enough detail for a patent attorney to identify novel aspects for patentability. It also includes the inventor’s perspective on the technology’s commercialization value. This helps the TTO to better evaluate the invention’s market potential and commercialization options. Unfortunately, many invention disclosure submissions come up short. The possible reasons for this vary. But mostly it seems to boil down to a lack of researcher understanding of the importance and role of the invention disclosure.
As Laura Schoppe noted in her post about the key direct metrics for technology transfer offices (TTOs), there are important indirect metrics to track as well. These are factors that the TTO can influence, but others have more control over the ultimate outcome. Some feed into the early stages of the tech transfer pipeline in terms of the quantity and quality of invention disclosures. These indirect metrics also relate to economic development, which seems to be growing in importance every year. So, today’s post outlines the indirect metrics that are appropriate for various TTOs.
Technology briefings can be a cost-effective way for a technology transfer office (TTO) to reach potential licensees and partners. These briefings typically include a technical presentation from the inventor as well as details on the licensing/partnering process from a TTO representative. Experience has shown that an online/webinar technology briefing: (1) can dramatically increase the efficiency of the marketing effort since it eliminates the need to convey the same information multiple times in individual discussions, (2) allows you to set a specific timeline for receiving and selecting licensing/partnering applications, and (3) eliminates travel costs and provides a recording to post for interested parties who missed the live event. Of course, technology briefings require extensive planning and preparation. And not every innovation is suited to a technology briefing. For the greatest success, Fuentek offers the following advice.