Your source for expert commentary on IP management issues.
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Editor-in-Chief, Anatole Krattiger
Why This Topic Is Important
This section covers a full gamut of issues that can shape the national policy and legal environment for
innovation and technology transfer. These include the oversight of the courts, legislation over IP
protection, ownership, and access, and funding of science and higher education, as well as the need for
compliance with international agreements, realistic expectations about the amount of revenues that can
come from technology transfer, and the delicate and complex dynamics that can lead regional innovation
clusters to succeed or fail. By understanding these issues, you will better understand the nature of the
innovation environment within you are seeking to transfer technologies, and from the examples of other
countries’ experiences you will draw inspiration for how you and your institution might influence your
country’s innovative environment for the better.
Key Implications and Best Practices: Section 3
Given that IP management is heavily context specific, these Key Implications and Best Practices are intended as starting points to be adapted to specific needs and circumstances.
- Traditionally, the mission of a technology transfer program was to bring university-generated intellectual property into use as rapidly as possible. But public sector technology transfer has evolved to serve broader purposes: to enhance the reputation of the institution. Successful technology transfer can help it achieve its missions of education, research, and community outreach; to ensure social impact; and to provide funds for further research.
- The laws relating to new technologies are evolving. Recent court decisions may have an impact on business and technological matters relevant to the operations of your technology transfer office (TTO).
- A TTO has much responsibility in creating incentives to move discoveries into the product development arena, motivating public sector researchers, not by the promise of revenue streams (which rarely appear), but by the satisfaction of seeing their work developed and applied to serve the public good.
- An understanding of not only the law, but also the public policy that underlies it. For example, with the Bayh-Dole Act in the United States, the policy rationale is not directed toward revenue generation, but rather toward moving publicly funded R&D into the marketplace to serve the public good.
- Financial benefits from technology transfer can take many years to realize—if they ever do materialize—so it is important to be realistic when making forecasts about expected income. International benchmark data indicate that a positive return can take eight to ten years to achieve. It is prudent not to justify the cost of technology transfer functions on the basis of financial returns.
- The difficulties of managing and promoting technology transfer within a smaller research institution need to be recognized, and the office should actively seek partnerships with other entities, such as local venture capital firms, incubators, and business development agencies. Alliances with other institutions, or a central TTO for several institutions, may also constitute viable alternative strategies.
- In a dynamic innovation cluster, authoritative IP management capacity, technology transfer, and licensing are all essential. Flexibility in licensing and partnership arrangements, and speedy action and decision making are equally important.
- TTOs are often ideally placed to define and nurture an entrepreneurial culture in the faculty. There can be large gains from such efforts.
- TTOs can, if appropriately structured, become a source of creative networking and collaboration, generating both academic and commercial success. Hence, this role in driving the success of clusters will be absolutely essential.
The Activities and Roles of M.I.T. in Forming Clusters and Strengthening Entrepreneurship
by Lita Nelsen
Benchmarking of Technology Transfer Offices and What It Means for Developing Countries
by Anthony D. Heher
Compulsory Licensing: How to Gain Access to Patented Technology
by Carlos María Correa
Echoes of Bayh-Dole? A Survey of IP and Technology Transfer Policies in Emerging and Developing Economies
by Gregory D. Graff
Public Sector IP Management in the Life Sciences: Reconciling Practice and Policy—Perspectives from WIPO
by Antony Taubman, Roya Ghafele
The Role of Clusters in Driving Innovation
by Peter W. B. Phillips, Camille D. Ryan
U.S. Laws Affecting the Transfer of Intellectual Property
by Howard Bremer
What Does It Take to Build a Local Biotechnology Cluster in a Small Country? The Case of Turku, Finland
by Kimmo Viljamaa