Proactive management of intellectual property (IP) is essential for your R&D organization, regardless of whether it’s a university, private company, government lab, hospital, or not-for-profit research organization. Being proactive helps you focus on achieving your goals rather than reactively putting out fires, and it enables more efficient and effective operations. To make your TTO or other IP operation more proactive, consider the following recommendations and guidance.
Having spent 15+ years helping major research universities manage their intellectual property (IP), Fuentek knows a great deal about efficient and effective tech transfer. We’ve also seen that many universities struggle to explain this complex process to their stakeholders — administrators, researchers, and even legislators.
Fuentek has unique insight into how TTOs can improve their operations for more efficient commercialization of intellectual property (IP). And because we heard from so many TTOs that our Road to Tech Transfer was a valuable tool for communicating with key stakeholders, we thought a new infographic would serve as a useful starting point for sharing our insights for efficient and effective TTO operations. Thinking of the technologies in the IP portfolio as plants, we created the Cultivate Your IP infographic to illustrate TTO best practices for (1) channeling your efforts/resources into the seedlings that are poised to thrive and (2) providing the timely care that allows them to flourish and achieve commercialization success.
This past spring, I had the pleasure of serving as a panelist at the Lab-to-Market Inter-Agency Summit convened by the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP). This past week, the panelists’ recommendations were released (download the report), and they’re getting some well-deserved attention. And they deserve some elaboration. As summit co-chairs Joe Allen and Diane Palmintera wrote in an article published on Innovation Daily, the summit had an unusual format, with…
External Advisory Boards: A Short-Term Tool for Tech Transfer (or “Not Mr. Right, but Mr. Right Now”)
I was recently asked for my insights about technology transfer office (TTO) use of external advisory boards or committees. Such boards have been frequently cited in reports and the press as a useful tool — or even a required element — for improved tech transfer operations. The thinking is that external boards provide a means to obtain objective industry/market opinions about new technologies and/or to tap into technical expertise not available within the TTO. I am all in favor of…
I read with interest two recent news stories about technology transfer offices (TTOs) looking to increase licensing deals by addressing two oft-cited barriers: high costs and long negotiation times. The logic: Offering intellectual property (IP) at a super low cost (or even for free) and/or through non-negotiation, ready-to-sign license agreements will result in more technologies getting to market faster. These types of programs have been around for a bit (see my prior posts about free IP and ready-to-sign licenses) and the trend seems to be growing. So let’s look at the two recent examples and consider how to make these types of programs successful.
There’s a trend that seems to be on the rise around the world, and it’s worth thinking about where you live. It has to do with the centralizing or consolidating of technology transfer functions across universities. We’ve explored the topic of TTO centralization on this blog before, and we have a free white paper with best practices on centralizing/consolidating TTOs. But the impressive thing about what’s happening lately is the extent to which the coordination is happening across institutions.
A few months ago, the IP Marketing Blog discussed the OpenUlster program at the University of Ulster in Ireland and its evaluation license. It caught my attention for its efforts to streamline licensing and help mitigate the risks that potential licensees may feel when contemplating a new technology. Here’s how the blogger described it: ‘To take out an evaluation license, which costs just one Pound, the visitor just clicks on the link to download the documents, fill out two forms and return them both to Ulster. “When the license is countersigned by one of our commercialization team, the firm has exclusivity to evaluate that technology,” says [technology commercialization manager Dr. John] MacRae… At the end of the evaluation period… the evaluation license can be converted into a full commercial license.”’
What’s the best way to get federally funded technologies out of university and federal labs and into the market? This is the big question of late, and it’s generating a lot of hubbub. Regardless of the merits of all of the initiatives, directives, and legislation, I think a key aspect is being overlooked. As any technology transfer office (TTO) can tell you, not every technology emerging from federal R&D spending will be the next Honeycrisp™ apple, implantable pacemaker, or Red Hat, Inc. But some do have the potential to launch new companies, improve or expand the product/service offerings of existing companies, create jobs, or otherwise positively impact the U.S. economy and/or provide humanitarian benefits. The question is: Which technologies? And, more importantly, how do TTOs find them and commercialize them efficiently?
Has your tech transfer office set some resolutions for 2012? I’ve been doing some thinking about that, particularly in the context of the political landscape of late that TTOs must navigate. It’s certainly not news that in the last few years politics has been wagging the dog when it comes to tech transfer. And 2011 was no exception. For example, there was a big push toward using tech transfer to generate economic development and startups. But well-intentioned policies are not always aligned with what really brings value to technology communities, not to mention the universities and government labs where the technologies originate.