Posts Tagged: "Licensing"

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.

Defensive Patent Pools: There are Surprisingly Few Options

Unlike NPEs, defensive patent pools entities do not (at least initially) seek to generate revenues. Rather, they charge admission fees into the pool to fund IP acquisitions and the administrative costs to operate the pool. In sum, defensive patent pool aggregation is analogous to an insurance policy. But, where classic insurance lowers a company’s costs when accidents happen, patent pools are designed to reduce the likelihood of accidents (i.e., being sued for patent infringement) from happening at all.

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.

Patent Pooling Is an Effective Tool for IP Monetization

When the media paints images of all patents being bad they are doing a disservice to the industry and ignoring the good that has come from patented innovation and the sharing of such innovation via patent pools and other cross-licensing arrangements. Patent pooling is one example of a proven, effective tool that is helping industry better manage its licensing programs. By “pooling” patents from many license holders, licensors generally are able to lower transaction costs and administrative overhead, and benefit from a centralized model that encourages patent bundling and fair play. Licensees likewise enjoy advantages in the form of lower royalty fees and a single point of contact that eliminates the need to negotiate separately with multiple license holders.

Plucking the Golden Goose Won’t Help Patients

Several public interest groups recently filed a march in petition under the Bayh-Dole Act asking NIH to force Abbott Laboratories to license its competitors for the production of Ritonavir, a drug used to treat AIDS.  Drug developers face a daunting task. For every 5,000 drugs tested, about five proceed to clinical trials. Perhaps one is eventually approved.  That one must not only pay for itself, but for all the company’s other drugs that died along the way. This grim math eludes the petitioners.

Open Innovation is the Answer for the U.S. Economy

Innovation and how to foster next generation technologies is a topic of very active discussion within businesses across the country. But how can America continue to be one of the most innovative countries in the world? The rapid adoption of IP management and licensing platforms built around social collaboration seems to lead us to one answer – open innovation. Indeed, with today’s technology allowing for the seamless transfer of information – R&D departments have little to no choice but to begin to embrace the open innovation model and use it to their advantage. Understanding your intellectual assets and being able to capitalize on them in order to generate more revenue must be an important part of managing IP and fostering innovation.

Intellectual Property as a Corporate Asset

The theme of the annual meeting of the AIPF this year is “intellectual property as a corporate asset.” There are indeed presentations sprinkled across the two days of this meeting that relate specifically to this topic. Another recurring and equally treated topic is the use of the Internet in practice in a variety of contexts — attracting clients, networking generally and use of the Internet for investigations. Topics of particular interest included: (1) The Invisible Hand: Models for Monetizing Patents in the 21st Century; (2) Lies, Damn Lies, and Lawyers; (3) Contingent Fee Arrangements in Enforcing IP Rights; and (4) Economic Effect of Non Practicing Entities.

The Business Responsible Approach to Inventing

There really is no one-size-fits-all approach to inventing that can be claimed to be a road-map to success that will work in all cases. Notwithstanding, there are certainly a number of things that can and should be done early in the inventing process if an inventor is going to pursue inventing as more than a hobby. I continually preach to inventors the need to follow what I call a “business responsible” approach, which is really just my way of counseling inventors to remember that the goal is to not only invent but to hopefully make some money. Truthfully, the goal is to make more money than what has been invested, which is how the United States Congress defined “success” in the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999.  The odds of being successful with one of your inventions increase dramatically if you engage in some simple steps to ensure you are not investing time and money on an invention that has little promise.

The Smart Phone Patent Wars: Is Government Action on the Horizon?

Last month, both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives held hearings related to patent disputes, the ITC, SSOs and FRAND licensing – no doubt precipitated by the smart phone patent wars. On July 11, 2012, the full Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled “Oversight of the Impact on Competition of Exclusion Orders to Enforce Standard-Essential Patents.” Witnesses at the Senate hearing included the Acting Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, and the Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). A week later, on July 18, 2012, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet held a hearing entitled “The International Trade Commission and Patent Disputes.” Witnesses at the House hearing included Professor Colleen Chien of Santa Clara University School of Law, IP Counsel for Ford, VP of Litigation for Cisco, the General Counsel of Tessera Technologies, and the President of The American Antitrust Institute (AAI).

The Good Steward – Turning Federal R&D into Economic Growth

By SENATOR BIRCH BAYH — What should we say about a steward that manages billions of dollars in public research funds not aimed at finding commercial products and turns them in to hundreds of billions of dollars in economic impact while supporting millions of jobs? You would think that a sincere “thank you” was in order. But many are saying that the system producing such riches is broken. Remarkable. The Bayh-Dole Act created no new bureaucracy, costs taxpayers nothing, and decentralized technology management out of Washington. It’s widely touted as a key in turning the U.S. economy around.

Patent Business: Deals, Acquisitions & Licenses July 2012

This deal will give GSK exclusive rights to BENLYSTA, which is a human monoclonal antibody that inhibits B-cell activating factor (BAFF) approved for treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus. It is believed that BENLYSTA has blockbuster potential. According to Human Genome Sciences, the principle patents covering BENLYSTA will generally expire between 2016 and 2023 in the United States and between 2016 and 2021 in the rest of the world. For 2011 sales of BENYLYSTA were approximately $52 million, but there is great optimism that the drug will become a blockbuster as it continues to gain market share and as it may ultimately be approved for treatment of other autoimmune diseases.

Weakening the ITC’s Patent Jurisdiction Will Harm US Economy

Licensing U.S. intellectual property strengthens the economy and improves our trade balance. Section 337, the statute that regulates unfair practices in import trade, is a key element of the nation’s trade laws and ensures that American innovators, including licensing companies, will not be harmed by the importation of goods that infringe valid and enforceable U.S. patents. Importers of foreign made products – both U.S. based and foreign companies – have appealed to Congress for several changes to Section 337 that would, in effect, limit access to the ITC and/or weaken the powers of the ITC to deal with cases of unfair trade practices. Weakening the ITC’s jurisdiction would benefit foreign economies, foreign competitors, and other foreign manufacturers to the detriment of the U.S. economy.

University Licensing and Biotech IPRs Good for the Economy

Earlier in the week BIO also unveiled another report it commissioned and which was authored by Lori Pressman, David Roessner, Jennifer Bond, Sumiye Okubo, and Mark Planting. This report, titled Taking Stock: How Global Biotechnology Benefits from Intellectual Property Rights, discusses the role of intellectual property rights in encouraging upstream research and development as well as downstream commercialization of biotechnology. More specifically, the report outlines how intellectual property rights and technology transfer mechanisms encourage collaboration and lead to the research and development of new biotechnologies, particularly in emerging and developing economies.

IP Exchange Brings Market Principles to Patent Rights Acquisition

It is also probably correct to say that the current business model for licensing technologies is extremely inefficient, not only because of the lack of a central clearinghouse, but because many of those who would be most interested in acquiring rights to exciting new technologies are really too small to attract the interest of patent owners. Even if they are large enough to attract interest from patent owners it take real time and real money to acquire rights. You don’t simply walk into a neighborhood bodega and order the rights to X technology for Y dollars, put it into your knapsack and walk away. Negotiations are hardly standard, must take into account multiple unique scenarios and are like any other business deal — unique. That requires attorneys to get involved and we all know what happens then, right? Too frequently attorneys get in the way of doing a deal rather than facilitate one.