Your AUTM Annual Meeting Checklist

Your AUTM Annual Meeting Checklist

The 2018 AUTM® meeting is coming up Feb. 18-21, and we at Fuentek are looking forward to it! If you’re with a university tech transfer office, you should too. The AUTM meeting provides you with lots of opportunities to network with industry, investors, and research institutions. You can also learn about the latest advancements in tech transfer and even advance your career. Having participated in the AUTM meeting for several years, I offer up these tips to help you get the most out of your time in Phoenix.

Tentatively Plan Your Schedule

The conference schedule is pretty full. Doing a little planning keeps you from wasting precious time figuring out where to go next. To identify sessions that are of particular interest to you, check out the topical track-based schedule. AUTM also offers a day-by-day schedule to help you quickly identify what’s going on at any given time.

First-Time Attendee Briefing: Sunday, Feb. 18th, 4:00-5:00pm

If this is your first AUTM national meeting, be sure to attend this briefing on Sunday, Feb. 18th, 4:00-5:00pm.

Industry/Academia Connect and Collaborate: Monday, Feb. 19th, 1:45-5:30pm

These sessions give companies and universities a chance to interact. Industry representatives will discuss the types of technologies they’re seeking. And you’ll have time to network with those where there’s a match.

Use AUTM Connect

The valuable AUTM Connect tool lets you create a personal schedule that includes conference sessions and other events as well as one-on-one meetings that you can book through the tool. There’s even an app you can download to your mobile devices to quickly access the program and events during the conference, schedule your own meetings, and more. Watch this free webinar to learn how to use AUTM Connect.

Prepare to Network

The AUTM meeting gives lots of chances to network, so advance planning will for those will be particularly helpful. Consider these tips:

  • Use AUTM Connect to find and schedule meetings with the organizations/individuals that align with what you have to offer. (For more on this, see Becky’s “All About Events” post.)
  • Think about what information will be most important to the people you’ll speak with. For example, what are the relevant aspects of your technology portfolio or research capabilities?
  • Plan how you will introduce yourself and your organization.
  • Practice your pitch to keep the conversation concise and interesting.
  • Remember to bring plenty of business cards.

Review the List of Exhibitors

AUTM posts the exhibitor list here. Review and identify ahead of time the exhibitors you have particular interest in, so you can make the best use of your time in the Exhibit Hall. Prioritize your list to focus on the ones who are the best match for your technology needs and/or portfolio… after you visit Fuentek in Booth #406, that is!

Have Fun!

The AUTM annual meeting is an opportunity to spend time with and learn from like-minded tech transfer nerds for a few days. Enjoy it! I hope to see you in Phoenix at Booth #406. Safe travels!

Find Fuentek
at AUTM 2018


  • Sunday 6:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Monday 7:00am to 6:30pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am to 11:30am

MONDAY, FEB. 19 • 10:45AM

Using Sponsored Research to Bridge the Licensing Gap Program (Session A7)

  • Danielle McCulloch, Fuentek (moderator)
  • Brian Kraft, Washington State University
  • Sharon Semones, Eli Lilly and Co.
  • Todd Sherer, Emory University


Bringing Tech Transfer into the Classroom Curriculum (Session F6)

  • Becky Stoughton, Fuentek (moderator)
  • Justin Anderson, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF)
  • Steven Ferguson, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Lesley Millar-Nicholson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Free Webinars Help Companies Get the Most Out of Their IP

Free Webinars Help Companies Get the Most Out of Their IP

As regular readers of the Fuentek blog know, we are big proponents of actively managing the intellectual property (IP) portfolio as a strategic asset. This is as important for companies as it is for universities, government agencies, medical and other research organizations, foundations, and the like. Companies that manage their IP more passively risk missing out on potential new revenue streams and cost-saving opportunities.

So, a year and a half ago, Fuentek teamed up with PatSnap to offer a series of free webinars to help companies get the most out of their IP portfolios. Today’s post provides an overview of—and, more importantly, easy links to—that webinar series.

Specifically designed for leaders in private companies, these webinars also provide valuable information for hospitals, universities, governments, foundations, and other research organizations.


Your IP Portfolio: Strategic Asset or a Drain on Resources?

Leading companies actively manage their IP portfolio as a strategic and financial asset. Those that are more passive are missing out on potential new revenue streams or cost-saving opportunities. But they don’t have to.

In this webinar, I provided a guide to active management of your IP portfolio:

Are you sitting on a potential goldmine? Watch the webinar to begin to find out.


Finding the Fit Within the Market and Patent Landscape

This webinar presents best practices for analyzing whether a technology aligns with market needs. Topics covered include:
  • Using objective criteria to determine a technology’s market fit
  • Articulating the technology’s benefits, applications, and value proposition
  • Conducting effective market and patent research
  • An example illustrating the value of this approach

For a primer on determining whether and how a technology fits into the market, check out this blog post and then watch the free webinar.


How to Maximize Your ROI Using Intellectual Property Data

When you register for this webinar, you’ll hear my insights on how IP data can be used to identify and pursue commercialization opportunities. This includes:

  • Identifying marketing targets
  • Determining their interest
  • Verifying market fit and collecting feedback
  • Prioritizing applications for the IP
  • Developing a licensing/commercialization strategy for your IP

For a quick preview of what the webinar covers, check out this blog post by Fuentek’s Danielle McCulloch.


5 Things IP and R&D Teams Should Never Hide from Each Other

Collaboration is key to the success of an organization’s IP and R&D departments. Rather than operate independently, truly successful IP offices and R&D units maintain open lines of communication. Such engagement maximizes the value of patenting and commercialization resources while ensuring the investment in R&D doesn’t go to waste.

As a pioneer of Symbiotic Innovation, I have long advocated having a strong connection between R&D and the IP management departments of innovation organizations. Register for this webinar to learn the five key ways you can improve IP-R&D collaboration in your innovation organization.


Patents: Sell, License, or Scrap

During this panel discussion on managing the patent portfolio, I focus on the importance of evaluating and understanding the market interest in a patent as well as how it fits within your product offerings to understand how to manage your IP. Remember: Managing your IP includes renewals on patent fees and licensing when there is external interest that does not compete with your product offerings.

It’s important to make a deliberate decision about paying maintenance fees on a patent. Ask yourself:

  • Is it being used in a product line?
  • Is it still at the cutting-edge and not surpassed by other technologies on the market?
  • Is there a need to keep it to protect against infringement?
  • Is there an opportunity to license it?

If the answers to these questions is “No,” then why keep paying to renew the patent? Learn more by registering to access the recorded webinar.


I hope you find these webinars useful. To learn more about how Fuentek can help your company proactively manage its IP to increase revenue and reduce costs, contact us today.

Getting the Most out of Industry Events: Advice for Tech Transfer

Getting the Most out of Industry Events: Advice for Tech Transfer

Fuentek’s Laura Schoppe represents NASA
at TechConnect.

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.


Choose the Right Event

Here are some hints to help you determine whether an industry conference is worth your TTO’s time.

Appropriate Attendees

Check out the conference’s list of sponsors, session presenters, and (if they publish it) registrant organizations. Does it include technical and business development leaders? If so, then the event likely strikes a balance of the decision makers you’ll want to interact with.

Time for Networking

Industry trade shows that are jammed with sessions and do not leave time for one-on-one networking can be unproductive for generating tech transfer leads. Make sure the agenda allows ample opportunity to engage potential licensees/partners in meaningful conversations.

Regional vs. Technical

Don’t dismiss an event simply because it is focused at the state or regional level. It can be difficult for your TTO to stand out at massive tech-specific conferences, while an event supporting growth in a specific industry sector can provide an excellent opportunity to connect with nearby companies and even policymakers that can benefit your tech transfer efforts.

For more on making the go/no-go decision when it comes to trade shows, check out this post from Fuentek’s Laura Schoppe.


Identify Your Targets in Advance

Review the list of companies attending to identify those you want to engage with and prioritize them. If the conference offers a networking tool (like AUTM Connect), use it to schedule meetings with your marketing targets. When we’ve done this type of up-front work for our clients, they had much more productive networking interactions.


Consider Skipping the Booth

Fuentek’s Karen Hiser meets with licensing
prospects at the Outdoor Retailer Show, marketing
NASA’s freeze-resistant hydration innovation.

As Laura discussed here, having a booth in the exhibit hall is one way to create important networking opportunities. However, if your booth is unlikely to draw your intended audience, it might be better to do your own networking in the Exhibit Hall. Then you can seek out the targets you want to hit and not be dependent on them finding you. We found this particularly effective when marketing a NASA hydration technology at the Outdoor Retailer Show. A NASA booth would have been overrun by visitors who were not prospective licensees. But we were able to have nearly 20 productive meetings with potential licensees.


Let Them Market You

An obvious way to increase your technology’s visibility is to present a session or poster. But there are other options as well. Some conferences have an awards program you can apply to. For example, we helped NASA prepare a winning application for the Best of Sensors Expo award, gaining extra attention for its Fiber Optic Sensing System.


If your events strategy is working well, feel free to share your advice below or via a private message. And if you feel like you need more bang from your buck when it comes to events, contact us today to discuss how Fuentek can help your TTO achieve better outcomes.

Advice for Hosting Tech Transfer Events

Advice for Hosting Tech Transfer Events

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.


Structure Strategically

The best format for your event will depend on:

  • The goals and outcomes you hope to achieve
  • The breadth of technologies/research to be included
  • How many attendees you expect
  • The needs of the target audience

Be strategic in the numerous decisions you’ll make for your event. As a single example, we helped a client focus an automotive workshop by identifying the industry’s crucial needs. The agenda and featured technologies were set to align with those areas—lighter weight vehicles, electric cars, manufacturing, design tools, etc.


Invitations with Impact

Fuentek helped Georgia Tech Research Corp.
develop this email inviting industry targets to
an AUTM Partnering Forum.

Use market research to identify the right people at the right companies. Then use a variety of mechanisms to reach out to these prospective attendees, including email and social media tools. Keep in mind that some people won’t want to commit to attending your event until they know who’s going. So, if you can get a few key partners to commit early on, you can promote their attendance to build the credibility of your event.


Noteworthy Networking

Most events include a combination of presentations and networking. The University of New Hampshire (UNH) event I mentioned in my last post did this particularly well:

  • Everyone there—both UNH researchers and companies—was invited to come to the podium to give a 1-minute overview of their areas of interest.
    Advantage: Giving more people the chance to let others know what they need and/or have to offer increases the chances of finding a match.
  • Each batch of 1- to 2-dozen intros was followed by several 5-minute “speed dating” blocks that used a bell to indicate it was time to switch to another attendee.
    Advantage: It created a sense of urgency (i.e., you only have 5 minutes to determine whether you want to have more detailed discussions later) and made it easy to talk with multiple prospects.

I found this structure extremely effective. Not only did it make it very easy for attendees to identify whom they wanted to talk to. It also provided plenty of structured opportunities to interact with them.


Virtually Valuable

Don’t forget that web-based activities, such as virtual conferences and technology briefings, require the same attention for invitations and preparation, though they can be more cost effective because they exclude the travel and time away from the office.


Hosting vs. Attending

As I said, hosting a tech transfer event can be a daunting task. So, I hope you find this advice helpful. Plus, Fuentek can provide your TTO with substantial support in planning, executing, and following up on such an event. (Contact us to learn more.)

In some cases, an industry event might be the better path to achieving commercialization success for a particular set of technologies or even a single innovation. So, in my next post I’ll provide some best practices for attending industry conferences.

All About Events: Tips for Tech Transfer Offices

All About Events: Tips for Tech Transfer Offices

Many university technology transfer offices (TTOs) use events as a key tool for marketing their innovations to potential licensees. They attend industry conferences, host technology showcases, and even go to the tech-specific level with web-based briefings. Events such as these can provide a valuable opportunity to engage with potential licensees and sponsored-research partners. For offices that are also charged with assisting their startups, this is a chance to engage with potential investors as well. And when done effectively, events can help take a major step forward in securing a deal.

For more than a decade, Fuentek has helped TTO clients—not only universities but also government clients, like NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE)—get the most out of the events they attend and host. Today is the first in a three-part series sharing the best practices and lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Before You Start…

The first step is to identify where your intellectual property (IP) portfolio aligns with the industry you’re trying to engage. This is a relatively easy task if you have organized and optimized the IP portfolio, which shows you:

  • Your organization’s core competencies
  • The industries that may have interest in each invention
  • Closely related technologies that can be marketed (or even licensed) together

The University of New Hampshire hosted
a Marine Innovation Day in July 2017, promoting
the event on the football stadium scoreboard.

If you have a range of technologies that support a single industry with a strong presence in your region, consider hosting your own event. I attended an excellent event this past summer: Marine Innovation Day at the coastally located University of New Hampshire (UNH).

If your IP portfolio has a particularly strong core competency, a more technology-focused approach may be warranted. You could attend a conference, like Sensors Expo, AdvaMed’s MedTech conference, or CAMX, or you could host your own event, perhaps on automotive or medical technologies.

An excellent example of the latter is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Transition to Practice program. Focused in the area of cybersecurity, DHS’s program brings together the top technologies from a range of federally funded R&D sites—from DOE labs to universities with National Science Foundation funding. These technologies are then showcased at Technology Demonstration Days. Some of these events are broadly focused, while others have been specific to industry sectors such as energy and financial services.

Remember: It’s Not Just About IP

If your organization has facilities or capabilities of interest to industry, include information about those as well. Think big: What does your organization have to offer that is of interest to industry?

Event Essentials

Regardless of whether you host or attend an event, the following guidance will help your TTO maximize the impact of your involvement.

Selecting Technologies and Research

Rather than bombard people with too much information, be selective. Choose the innovations that will be of greatest interest to the attendees. If you have faculty conducting relevant research who want (or need!) R&D partners or sponsors, include them as well. Be sure to consider market fit when making these selections.

Fuentek helped Georgia Tech
Research Corp. prepare handouts like this
for an AUTM Partnering Forum on
Smart Power & Energy Storage Solutions.

Preparing Handouts

As with any piece of marketing collateral, prepare eye-catching pieces that focus on the AMMO: Audience, Message, Mechanism, and Outcome. Focus on the value proposition. And group closely related technologies or research together. Here’s an example from Georgia Tech.

Coaching Researchers

If the event involves researchers—whether in formal presentations or informal networking—help them prepare. For example, in supporting a NASA technology showcase, we helped 35 inventors develop presentations that described their technologies in ways that were meaningful to attendees. We worked with them on being able to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question for the anticipated audience. We helped them focus on their technology’s practical applications and benefits rather than on how their technology was created or worked. Attendees found their presentations to be exceptionally useful.

An Oak Ridge National Laboratory
researcher presents his technology at a DHS
Transition to Practice program event (posted at

Again, DHS’s Transition to Practice provides a useful example. The program provides participating researchers with intensive “pitch training” to prepare them for the Tech Demo Days. They learn how to structure an elevator pitch and to describe how a product incorporating their technology fits into the market landscape. This training has greatly contributed to the program’s success.

We have loads of practical advice in Fuentek’s “Pitching for Innovators” webinar as well as in this webinar we did for Tech Transfer Central.

Following Up

In the spirit of striking while the iron is hot, reach out to the contacts you made within 1–2 weeks of the event. Whether it’s been a technology briefing or a networking interaction at a conference, we have consistently found that early follow-up is most effective.

Looking Ahead

If you find these tips useful, stick around. In the next few weeks I’ll be blogging even more advice that is specific to achieving tech transfer success by:

And in the meantime, feel free to contact us to discuss how Fuentek can help your TTO put these recommendations into practice.