Benefits of Commercialization
There are many benefits for producers to commercialize their intellectual property, both for the individual and the University. The most visible of these rewards are the students that are educated at the university, and the host of publications, presentations, and graduate theses communicating these research findings to scientific colleagues throughout the world. The broad dissemination of research results is unquestionably the primary goal of the universities’ research activities. Some of the benefits that exist are:
- Recognition of research efforts, and enhancement of the University's research environment, through the practical application of your intellectual property;
- Ensuring public benefit from university research;
- The development of relationships with industries, not-for-profits, and other private enterprises;
- Collaboration with industrial partners,not-for-profits, and other private enterprises may result in sponsorship of additional research and students;
- Generation of personal and University revenue; and
- Meeting the obligations to research sponsors.
Whether or not producers intend to use the services provided by Trent in order to commercialize their intellectual property, they are obligated to disclose the invention to the University. The disclosing of an invention to the university is the first step in the commercialization of any intellectual property.
The university will not interfere with a faculty member's right to publish research results. However, you are encouraged to advise the university of any plans to disclose or publish a potential invention as soon as possible so appropriate actions, such as patents or copyrights, can be taken to protect it.
University or Personally Led Commercialization
Once a producer has disclosed their intellectual property to Trent, they must decide whether or not they wish to commercialize the good themselves, or to allow Trent to assist them with the process. This requires the producer to define what the "end game" for their intellectual property is, and how many resources they are willing to put towards this goal. Commercialization is likely to take up a considerable amount of resources, so if it is not practical for a producer to self commercialize, Trent is here to help. There are numerous possible "end games" for producers. These can range form the collection of personal wealth, to academic recognition, to public betterment. Producers must be realistic about what their goal is, and the amount of effort they are willing to put towards it.
Once a producer has determined what their "end game" is, there is usually three paths that they can take to reach it. These include:
- Selling or assigning ownership to a company
- Licensing the technology
- Self Enterprising
Choosing the correct path is critical to the success of the commercialization of the intellectual property.
Selling or Assigning
The sale or assigning of intellectual property is viable option in several situations. The producers may be looking to expanding into different fields or nearing retirement, the ideal market for the intellectual property could be controlled by larger corporations that would make self enterprising a difficult task, or when a specific company is an ideal target for it. However, before a producer can sell their intellectual property, they must make sure that they are legally allowed to see it. Intellectual property that was developed in conjunction with other inventors, Trent, granting agencies or industrial sponsors will need to have an agreement drafted with the relevant parties before a sale can be finalized.
There are other concerns about selling intellectual property as well. For example, once intellectual property is sold, the producer will no longer have any influence over how it is used or commercialized. Depending on the terms of the assignment agreement, the right ot use it could also be lost.
The licensing of intellectual property has several benefits to, but in return, you are likely to generate a lower amount of revenue, then a self enterprising endeavour would. However, as mentioned, there are numerous benefits to licensing. These include:
- The risk of commercialization is shared between numerous parties;
- There is potential to license to several different partners, allowing for multiple revenue streams;
- The market is to small to justify the expenses to create a new company; and
- The rights that are associated with the intellectual property are determined by the licenser.
There are generally two different forms that a licensing agreement can take. A Nonexclusive License grants the the licensee the right to make, have made, use and sell the specific technology described in the license, with or without the right to sublicense others. These licenses can be granted with defined geographical rights, and for a specific field of use or application, depending upon the licensee's business and the purpose of the agreement. An Exclusive License grants to the licensee the right to make, use and sell the specific technology described in the license, rights to the exclusion of all others including the inventor. These agreements often require the payment of minimum royalties, and reasonable efforts on the part of the licensee to commercially exploit the inventions, in order to maintain the exclusivity of the license.
Increasingly at universities, faculty, staff and students are interested in seeing their research results reach the marketplace by starting a new company rather than the more traditional way of licensing the technology to an existing company. Producers choose to do follow this path because they believe that the financial potential, and the potential of the intellectual property itself, is worth the added risk and costs associated with it. Creating a successful new company is very difficult and success is often heavily influenced by factors outside your control. The stark reality is that a very large proportion of start-ups fail. Although creating a new company to commercialize your technology holds the highest risk, it can also lead to the highest potential reward.
For any questions or assistance regarding intellectual property or commercialization, please email email@example.com.