Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

Worth Reading: Licensing Data, More Centralizing, Biotech Ties, Creative Marketing, and a Remembrance

Online reading of technology transfer newsIt’s time for another post about articles and other tidbits we’ve read that we think you should read too. Feel free to share your thoughts about these items, or tell us about your favorite tech transfer stories. Post a comment below or email us via our Contact Us page.

AUTM 2011 Licensing Activity Survey Highlights and Data Appendix: The Association of University Technology Managers® has released the highlights and the data appendix for its annual survey of U.S. and Canadian members’ licensing activity. In addition to the official AUTM highlights and a blog post on BIOtechNow from AUTM president Todd Sherer, there was an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education with insights from the National Council on Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer and several tech transfer office (TTO) directors. Those sources cited the following reasons for the uptick in most metrics:

  • An increased focus on entrepreneurship, driven by institutional efforts as well as economic forces
  • Being more collaborative and relationship focused in forming deals (BTW, congrats to the University of Nebraska and its NUTech Ventures for their 450% jump in licensing revenue!)
  • Actively working to engage faculty and students in tech transfer, thereby increasing the rate of invention disclosures
  • A shift in approach when it comes to deal terms in an effort to get more deals per year

Regarding the third bullet above, it has been my experience that when a TTO engages with innovators through training and better “inreach” communication about its activities, invention disclosures not only increase but are better. Innovators’ participation in tech transfer activities is also better because they have a better understanding of what the TTO is doing, why, and what the limits are for the office’s actions. (There are always rules — whether from the state, the IRS, or the university administration — and innovators rarely know about them or understand their genesis.)

The full survey reports will be published in December. Until then, AUTM members who participated in the survey have free access to the full data, and those who didn’t participate can have the data for only $25. Yet another good reason to join AUTM — besides the Global Technology Portal, that is! (Speaking of which, federal government labs and other nonprofits can now purchase access to load their technologies into AUTM’s GTP.)

Valorisation of Quebec Innovations: After writing last month about TTOs collaborating across institutions, I was pleased to see there is yet another example to witness. Two organizations that manage tech transfer (or valorisation) for multiple Quebec universities — MSBi Valorisation and Valeo Management — announced that they have started discussions about pooling their operations. It might eventually lead to a merger. Given that these two organizations were already pooling tech transfer activities in the province, I think this bodes well for this further consolidation to work out. Très bien!

Technology Transfer: Protecting the True Public Interest: Subtitled “Ties between the biotechnology industry and university research are crucial,” this op-ed by BIO president and CEO James Greenwood on BioPharm International draws a close connection between the rise of the U.S. biotech industry and the combination in the early 1980s of the Bayh-Dole Act, the Diamond v. Chakrabarty Supreme Court ruling, and the establishment of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit “to restore confidence in the US patent system.” As Greenwood puts it:

The ties between biotechnology and university research are critical. Most biotech companies license technologies from universities and many of the most prominent companies spun off campus. The continuation of this relationship—buttressed by a strong, dependable patent system—is essential to the biotech industry’s success in an increasingly competitive world market.

In about a week, BIO will hold its Technology Transfer Symposium in San Francisco. Such an event should help to strengthen the ties Greenwood cites. If your TTO goes, take a moment to send us your thoughts about the event.

Investors “Get on the Bus” to Explore Tech Transfer Opportunities: The IP Marketing Blog featured a story about a creative way for a research institution to connect with local businesses and investors about tech transfer opportunities: Put ’em on a bus and bring them to you. We too have tried the tour-style approach — most recently at NASA — and found it was a great way to show off your capabilities to a specific target audience. Tours and/or hands-on exhibits add a level of excitement that no PowerPoint presentation can match. It’s like the field trips we took as kids. And these folks even provided the bus! BTW, this story also is a good example of collaboration with an economic development organization. (For more on this topic, download our white paper, “Enhancing Economic Development through Technology Transfer of Federal- and State-Funded R&D.”) Kudos to the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville and the Crane Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center for their creativity!

In closing, I encourage you to watch this 13-minute NASA tribute to astronaut Neil Armstrong, who died on August 25th. Posted on, it’s a wonderful remembrance that captures not only his lunar achievement but also his humility. Rest in peace, Mr. Armstrong.


Worth Reading