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Hot IP Topics & Trends from AUTM 2019

By February 18, 2019No Comments

From the 10th to 13th of February 2019, innovation-minded people gathered for the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) (#AUTM) Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. Research, IP, and legal professionals from academia, Big Pharma, industry, health care, government, and more sent participants and attendees to exchange knowledge and opinions about the current state of inventiveness and technology transfer. This forum pays particular homage to the contributions academic institutions make to technological advancements, especially grass roots and startup companies that emerge from technology transfer.

IEEE had a booth at the event, and that was where attendees could find more information about IP.com. IEEE is a partnering content provider for IP.com’s InnovationQ Plus™. This joint presence highlighted IEEE’s integration with IP.com’s tools and the impact that combination can have to promote IP discovery, provide analysis, and guide strategy. The IEEE content, upon which many colleges and universities already rely, bolsters the value of IP.com’s products for this group. IP.com had the occasion to highlight not only the advanced patent search and analysis tools and professional search services that we have to offer, but also the newer capabilities for patent insight reports that help assess novelty and measure marketability.

Within the context of technology transfer, IP.com’s suite of solutions helps organizations discover the true value and potential of what they have, what others are working on, and how relationships can be built to maximize the potential of innovation and bring it to monetization. IP.com is committed to doing more and providing value to academia practicing technology transfer. Our main objective at AUTM was to meet as many people as possible and let them know we can make their lives easier and more productive.

As important as that objective was, equally important was the chance to learn about what matters to the people dedicated to innovation. How can discoveries be made more accessible to others in academia, industry research & development, and government agencies? Key messages emerged early-on in the event.

The kickoff meeting was a “Fireside Chat” with Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. Iancu divided his address into three “buckets”: policy, operations, and theme. IP.com’s representative found that Iancu’s talk touched on multiple themes that address different pieces to the intellectual property puzzle. A few of the hot topics that ran as undercurrents throughout the Annual Meeting were:

  • The need to increase the national dialogue around intellectual property and use it to drive policy; focus on the brilliance of inventors, the importance of innovation, and the benefits that these bring to society
  • The use of compulsory licensing: compulsory licensing can be problematic to the “innovation ecosystem” across the globe, with repercussions to the greater economy
  • The need for more women and minorities as innovators: creating a broader innovation ecosystem, from a demographic standpoint, is one way to move toward a technological revolution in which the US is fully and equally engaged

Another strong observation that the IP.com representative made is that AI is everywhere. No industry is untouched by the hand of artificial intelligence. The attention given to and activity around anything AI is huge. Everyone is excited and intrigued, and must learn more. At the annual meeting, one AI-related presentation went beyond being full, beyond being standing room only, to having the audience spill out the door and crane to hear anything they could.

This is exciting for IP.com, as well. We, too, are learning the best methods for utilizing artificial intelligence. Our InnovationQ software is powered by the patented Semantic Gist® engine, using AI to retrieve patents from our database. The AI-enhanced semantic search enables the use of ordinary language to retrieve documents containing similar concepts or meanings. (Read more about AI at IP.com.) As our software development moves forward, we expand the solutions we can offer to advance technology transfer initiatives.

The 2019 AUTM Annual Meeting was an ocean in Austin, teeming with brilliant schools of thought. Questions, answers, insights, and opinions led to more questions running on a wave of determination. The common current is the need to encourage and facilitate innovation on many levels – from our children to our political leaders. The best way to move forward is for university, industry, health care, and government institutions to work together to keep a healthy innovation ecosystem.