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Posts Tagged: "association of university technology managers"

Does University Patent Licensing Pay Off?

Patent licensing or creating new companies is not a get rich quick path for schools despite the occasional blockbuster invention or Google spin-out. Indeed, enriching universities is not the goal of the Bayh-Dole Act which spurred the rapid growth of TTO’s. Still, every state now sees its research universities as key parts of their economic development strategy shows that it’s not just the traditionally dominant R&D universities that are making significant contributions under Bayh-Dole… AUTM estimates the impact from sales of products based on licensed academic research in 2012 totaled $80 billion dollars – that’s double the entire federal investment in university research. Another study found that university patent licensing supported 3 million jobs between 1996-2010 (that’s an average of 200,000 jobs per year).

Patent Haters Take Notice! University Innovation Fuels Robust Economic Activity

But how could Universities ever be characterized as non-practicing entities in the first place? If we are going to be intellectually honest there is no way you can characterize Universities as non-practicing entities. University innovations have laid the foundation for thousands of startup companies since 1980; in fact well in excess of 7,000 startup companies have been formed. These startup companies are not just high-tech companies, they are the highest tech companies based on the most cutting edge research and innovation our country has to offer. These companies are not imaginary or mythical, but rather they are real, tangible and operating companies; they exist! These startup companies are also U.S. formed companies that are located in the U.S. and employ U.S. workers. Now that is a jobs plan if I ever saw one!

Intellectual Dishonesty About Bayh-Dole Consequences

Prior to the enactment of Bayh-Dole 0 drugs were commercialized from underlying university research. Since Bayh-Dole became law 153 new drugs, vaccines, or new uses for existing drugs are fighting disease world-wide.

Chief Judge Rader on the Supreme Court and Judge Posner

Rader: “I come from the commercial law area where to tell the CEO that “well I’m going to have to balance several factors and ask three courts over a period three years whether or not you can have this product enter the market” is simply an inadequate response. In the commercial area we have to have a predictable, yes or I will use the B word — a Bright line rule. Now, that’s lead to kind of this culture clash where the Supreme Court says there needs to be more balancing and flexibility. The formalism of the Federal Circuit is uncomfortable to [the Supreme Court]. But that’s a function of our legal culture. I think perhaps the answer is the Federal Circuit needs to gain a little bit more flexibility from its experience with the Supreme Court, but I hope the Supreme Court also recognizes that the Federal Circuit is reaching its decisions for well considered reasons.”

Controlling Patent Costs and How to Say No: Lessons from AUTM 2013

At inovia we often speak to universities about the challenges that they face when it comes to international patenting filing. Many of our university clients face budget and cost pressures and will often abandon technologies when there’s no licensee in place, even though they may have already spent thousands of dollars drafting the application and filing the PCT.

At the recent Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) annual meeting, inovia’s founder Justin Simpson moderated a panel on the topic of “Controlling Patent Costs while Protecting More Technologies,” and was joined by three university experts to address some of these challenges.

Chief Judge Rader Speaks Out About Patent Litigation Abuse

Chief Judge Rader: “The patent system has a narrow focus. It is not a consumer affairs program. It is not a manufacturers guarantee compliance program. It’s not a competition program. It has one objective, summarized well by the Constitution: promote the progress of science and the useful arts. It’s there to create more investment and more incentive for innovation and invention. The things that the patent system is criticized for is not its job.”

Talking Tech Transfer with Todd Sherer, AUTM President, Part II

Todd Sherer: “And what we’re seeing, what the AUTM survey is showing, is that patent budgets are going down. And that’s of concern to me, because everything has to go through that funnel. You can do a lot of research, basic and then applied research and have translational funding, but that technology has to come through the Tech Transfer Office and through the patent budget. So it doesn’t do us a lot of good just to have funding targeted at programs at the front end of that funnel to try to shove it through, through the right limiting step, or pull it out the other side. We need to also be mindful of the fact that we need to invest in those fundamentals, that patent and licensing part. Because we’ve also seen that the number of licensing professionals has gone down over the last couple of years in the Tech Transfer Offices. So, what we don’t want to see is that trend continue. We don’t want to see the number of our staff go down and the patent budgets go down at a time when we want to improve impact.”

Tech Transfer: A Conversation with AUTM President Todd Sherer

Todd Sherer, Ph.D. is the director of technology transfer at Emory University, and is also currently President of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). Recently AUTM concluded its annual survey and found, not surprisingly, that University technology licensing has substantial positive impact on the U.S. economy. On the heels of that survey I reached out to my friends at AUTM and requested an interview with Sherer. Our interview took place on Friday, December 14, 2012. During our interview we talked about the nearly constant challenges to gut Bayh-Dole, which is the very foundation of university technology licensing and the piece of legislation called the most successful domestic legislation in the post World War II era by none other than The Economist. We also discussed what it is that universities do and how, despite what the critics say, the basic research done by universities is hardly ready for the marketplace.

University Tech Licensing Has Substantial Impact on Economy

In the case of product sales, 58 institutions (31 percent of the 186 respondents) reported that 2,821 of their licenses paid $662 million in running royalties based on $37 billion in product sales, implying an average royalty rate of 1.8 percent. In the case of startups, 66 institutions (35 percent of the 186 respondents) reported employment of 24,653 by 1,731 operational startups, an average of 14 employees per startup. Assuming all 3,927 startups still operational averaged 14 employees, total employment would have been 55,929.

Bayh-Dole Supporting Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Ongoing efforts to support student entrepreneurship and/or invention on campus included a variety of programs: 84% of schools have entrepreneurship classes, bootcamps or other similar programs; 72% have business plan competitions; 50% have incubators for student-owned companies; and 41% offer student entrepreneurship funding. “By supporting student innovation and entrepreneurship, AUTM hopes to see commercialization of student inventions grow just as we have seen growth in the commercialization of faculty inventions,” says AUTM Vice President for Membership Phyl Speser.

AUTM Meeting: Cost-Effective International Patenting Strategies

The university panelists then discussed IP portfolio strategy and their recommendations for evaluating international patenting, as well as their tips for keeping costs down. Susanne Hollinger advised TTOs against applying blanket rules to their international patenting decisions, such as “we only file if we have a licensee.” International filing has been an important part of Emory’s strategy, as more than half of their royalty money comes from technologies filed internationally, and they make international filing decisions on a case-by-case basis.

USPTO and AUTM Announce Joint Patent Examiners Training Initiative

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) announced on Friday, March 15, 2012, the launch of the USPTO/AUTM Patent Examiners Training Initiative, a joint program designed to improve the strength and quality of U.S. patents through specialized training between patent examiners, innovators and scientists.

University/Industry Partnerships Work: Don’t Kill the Golden Goose

If universities were run like businesses, they would not perform basic research designed to push forward the frontiers of learning. Indeed, industry has largely abandoned such research precisely because of its cost and risks. However, basic research is where breakthrough technologies such as biotechnology occur. The U.S. would be in dire straits if universities abandoned basic research seeking short term payoffs.

Remembering Norman Latker: The Passing of a Friend

If you’re in the profession of technology transfer, you just lost a close friend. Whether you knew him or not, you are a beneficiary of Norman J. Latker who passed away last weekend. Concerned that new innovations were driving up health care costs (a familiar sounding theme), the Carter Administration terminated the program. Norm, Howard Bremer, and Ralph Davis of Purdue set up a meeting with Senator Birch Bayh’s office asking that the program be made the basis for a uniform government patent policy. This request led to the introduction of the Bayh-Dole Act.

AUTM Survey: University Licensing Strong Despite Economy

During fiscal year 2009, 596 new companies were formed as a result of university research, which is one more than the 595 formed in 2008 and 41 more than the 555 formed in 2007. The increase, while modest, does come despite a downturn in the U.S. and global economy, proving that even during a down economy good technology and innovation can and does create jobs. The AUTM survey also shows that invention disclosures continue to rise, patent applications are up, and during fiscal year 2009 there was a surprisingly high increase in foreign filings over fiscal year 2008.