Skip to main content
Dismiss
IP.com applications will be updated on Sunday, February 5, from 10am-1pm ET. You may experience brief service interruptions during that time.
Patent Search & Analytics

Removing Roadblocks to University Technology Commercialization

Since the Bayh-Dole Act went into effect in 1980, allowing entities to own and monetize IP stemming from federally-funded research, there has been much debate about to what extent universities can and should commercialize their intellectual property. Academic institutions struggle with the commercialization of research, even decades after legally being allowed to do so. There are many interconnected reasons for this, including an academic culture that may not value monetization and a lack of the unique skills required to launch a startup.

Roadblocks to Commercializing University Research

The culture of innovation at many universities prioritizes research over commercialization. Technology transfer offices (TTO) must overcome the notion that universities exist solely for the betterment of society rather than commercial gain. Faculty (and student) performance has long been based on research-based objectives, such as attracting funding for and subsequently publishing research. It’s also worth noting that this type of disclosure, if not completed with guidance from the TTO, can harm a researcher’s ability to patent (and monetize) later.

University technology commercialization must address the large gap between research and implementation. Academics aren’t “commercializers,” shares Wharton management professor David H. Hsu. One technology transfer director uses an analogy to explain the situation: “Academic researchers show up in [my] office with a metaphorical bag of flour and a cup of sugar… when what investors and potential partners want is a fully baked cake.” Bridging this gap requires a litany of resources; perhaps most important among them is funding that covers the costly stages between academic research and commercialization, including proof of concept and prototyping. Other essential resources universities must provide to capitalize on intellectual property include training and education, mentors, removing silos and encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration, IP strategy support, and the enforcement of existing IP rights.

Commercial success is not always easily achieved or measured, making its adoption more difficult. Potential measures of success include, most obviously, revenue generated from various monetization strategies. Licenses executed, startups created, invention disclosures filed, and patents issued are also viable markers. Other economic impacts should not be overlooked, including jobs created and products sold as a direct result of any commercialized IP.

Capturing Opportunities for Monetization

Removing these roadblocks opens the door to the commercialization of research, which offers the potential of monetary gains to the inventor and university while also benefiting society as a whole, especially in the fields of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Universities must first encourage researchers to embrace the entire innovation lifecycle, making commercialization part of the culture. Creating a supportive ecosystem “filled with entrepreneurial experience, generous mentors… and access to funding at all stages of development” ensures faculty and students have the resources to embrace such a shift in the culture of innovation.

Interdisciplinary collaboration and access to information across teams are essential to this change as well. Allowing researchers and engineers to access the same patent data as the legal and business teams later in the innovation process helps academics adapt to (and excel at) university technology commercialization. A user-friendly solution like IP.com’s InnovationQ Plus® offers insight into the technology landscape and support during the invention disclosure process.

[gravityforms id="35" title="false" ajax="true"]
<script type="text/javascript">var gform;gform||(document.addEventListener("gform_main_scripts_loaded",function(){gform.scriptsLoaded=!0}),window.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded",function(){gform.domLoaded=!0}),gform={domLoaded:!1,scriptsLoaded:!1,initializeOnLoaded:function(o){gform.domLoaded&&gform.scriptsLoaded?o():!gform.domLoaded&&gform.scriptsLoaded?window.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded",o):document.addEventListener("gform_main_scripts_loaded",o)},hooks:{action:{},filter:{}},addAction:function(o,n,r,t){gform.addHook("action",o,n,r,t)},addFilter:function(o,n,r,t){gform.addHook("filter",o,n,r,t)},doAction:function(o){gform.doHook("action",o,arguments)},applyFilters:function(o){return gform.doHook("filter",o,arguments)},removeAction:function(o,n){gform.removeHook("action",o,n)},removeFilter:function(o,n,r){gform.removeHook("filter",o,n,r)},addHook:function(o,n,r,t,i){null==gform.hooks[o][n]&&(gform.hooks[o][n]=[]);var e=gform.hooks[o][n];null==i&&(i=n+"_"+e.length),gform.hooks[o][n].push({tag:i,callable:r,priority:t=null==t?10:t})},doHook:function(n,o,r){var t;if(r=Array.prototype.slice.call(r,1),null!=gform.hooks[n][o]&&((o=gform.hooks[n][o]).sort(function(o,n){return o.priority-n.priority}),o.forEach(function(o){"function"!=typeof(t=o.callable)&&(t=window[t]),"action"==n?t.apply(null,r):r[0]=t.apply(null,r)})),"filter"==n)return r[0]},removeHook:function(o,n,t,i){var r;null!=gform.hooks[o][n]&&(r=(r=gform.hooks[o][n]).filter(function(o,n,r){return!!(null!=i&&i!=o.tag||null!=t&&t!=o.priority)}),gform.hooks[o][n]=r)}});</script> <div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper gravity-theme' id='gform_wrapper_35' ><div id='gf_35' class='gform_anchor' tabindex='-1'></div> <div class='gform_heading'> <span class='gform_description'></span> </div><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' target='gform_ajax_frame_35' id='gform_35' action='/blog/removing-roadblocks-to-university-technology-commercialization/#gf_35' > <div class='gform_body gform-body'><div id='gform_fields_35' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><div id="field_35_1" class="gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below hidden_label gfield_visibility_visible" data-js-reload="field_35_1"><label class='gfield_label' for='input_35_1' >Email<span class="gfield_required"><span class="gfield_required gfield_required_text">(Required)</span></span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_1' id='input_35_1' type='text' value='' class='large' placeholder='Email Address' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></div><div id="field_35_3" class="gfield gsection field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" data-js-reload="field_35_3"><h3 class="gsection_title"></h3></div><div id="field_35_2" class="gfield gfield--width-full gform_hidden field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" data-js-reload="field_35_2"><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_2' id='input_35_2' type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' aria-invalid="false" value='' /></div></div><div id="field_35_4" class="gfield gform_validation_container field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible" data-js-reload="field_35_4"><label class='gfield_label' for='input_35_4' >Phone</label><div class='ginput_container'><input name='input_4' id='input_35_4' type='text' value='' /></div><div class='gfield_description' id='gfield_description_35_4'>This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.</div></div></div></div> <div class='gform_footer top_label'> <input type='submit' id='gform_submit_button_35' class='gform_button button gform-button--width-full' value='Subscribe' onclick='if(window["gf_submitting_35"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_35"]=true; ' onkeypress='if( event.keyCode == 13 ){ if(window["gf_submitting_35"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_35"]=true; jQuery("#gform_35").trigger("submit",[true]); }' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_ajax' value='form_id=35&amp;title=&amp;description=1&amp;tabindex=0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='is_submit_35' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_submit' value='35' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_unique_id' value='' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='state_35' value='WyJbXSIsImE1MjY5YjVkNzQ1NzViOTRhOWI5NzU4MzBhMWRjYjNhIl0=' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_target_page_number_35' id='gform_target_page_number_35' value='0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_source_page_number_35' id='gform_source_page_number_35' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_field_values' value='' /> </div> </form> </div> <iframe style='display:none;width:0px;height:0px;' src='about:blank' name='gform_ajax_frame_35' id='gform_ajax_frame_35' title='This iframe contains the logic required to handle Ajax powered Gravity Forms.'></iframe> <script type="text/javascript"> gform.initializeOnLoaded( function() {gformInitSpinner( 35, 'https://ip.com/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/images/spinner.svg' );jQuery('#gform_ajax_frame_35').on('load',function(){var contents = jQuery(this).contents().find('*').html();var is_postback = contents.indexOf('GF_AJAX_POSTBACK') >= 0;if(!is_postback){return;}var form_content = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_wrapper_35');var is_confirmation = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_confirmation_wrapper_35').length > 0;var is_redirect = contents.indexOf('gformRedirect(){') >= 0;var is_form = form_content.length > 0 && ! is_redirect && ! is_confirmation;var mt = parseInt(jQuery('html').css('margin-top'), 10) + parseInt(jQuery('body').css('margin-top'), 10) + 100;if(is_form){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_35').html(form_content.html());if(form_content.hasClass('gform_validation_error')){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_35').addClass('gform_validation_error');} else {jQuery('#gform_wrapper_35').removeClass('gform_validation_error');}setTimeout( function() { /* delay the scroll by 50 milliseconds to fix a bug in chrome */ jQuery(document).scrollTop(jQuery('#gform_wrapper_35').offset().top - mt); }, 50 );if(window['gformInitDatepicker']) {gformInitDatepicker();}if(window['gformInitPriceFields']) {gformInitPriceFields();}var current_page = jQuery('#gform_source_page_number_35').val();gformInitSpinner( 35, 'https://ip.com/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/images/spinner.svg' );jQuery(document).trigger('gform_page_loaded', [35, current_page]);window['gf_submitting_35'] = false;}else if(!is_redirect){var confirmation_content = jQuery(this).contents().find('.GF_AJAX_POSTBACK').html();if(!confirmation_content){confirmation_content = contents;}setTimeout(function(){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_35').replaceWith(confirmation_content);jQuery(document).scrollTop(jQuery('#gf_35').offset().top - mt);jQuery(document).trigger('gform_confirmation_loaded', [35]);window['gf_submitting_35'] = false;wp.a11y.speak(jQuery('#gform_confirmation_message_35').text());}, 50);}else{jQuery('#gform_35').append(contents);if(window['gformRedirect']) {gformRedirect();}}jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [35, current_page]);} );} ); </script>