Technology transfer is the movement of knowledge and discoveries from the university environment to the general public. Here, technology transfer refers to the formal licensing of technology to third parties and the organization of new technology-based companies.
The reasons may include:
- Making a positive impact on society
- Pursing personal fulfillment
- Receiving recognition & financial rewards
- Attracting additional department or lab funding
- Fulfilling research contract obligations
- Attracting research sponsors
- Linking students to future job opportunities
- Creating educational opportunities for students
As a UConn employee, you are obligated to promptly disclose your inventions to the university. UConn intellectual property policy states that UConn owns inventions, discoveries and improvements made as a result of either university employment or through the use of university resources, which is derived from the State of Connecticut statute located at: https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_185b.htm#sec_10a-98b. (Ownership of inventions.)
The U.S. Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 allows universities and other non-profit institutions to own rights to discoveries resulting from federally funded research, provided certain obligations are met. These obligations include making efforts to protect (when appropriate) and commercialize discoveries, submitting progress reports to the funding agency, giving preference to small businesses that demonstrate sufficient capability and sharing any resulting revenues with the inventors.
After the initial assessment of a new technology and the determination of its potential intellectual property value, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) will work to either start a new company or license a technology to an existing company through its Technology Commercialization Services (TCS). Once a potential partner is identified, TCS negotiates a license for either all or part of the rights to a company so that they can use the intellectual property toward a new service or product. In return, a licensee will typically return some benefit back to UConn, usually in the form of fees and royalties based on product sales incorporating the intellectual property, equity in the company or some combination of these benefits.
TCS can help and has established many business and development initiatives to facilitate and support the startup of new technology-based companies in Connecticut. TCS has relationships with local and national venture capitalists, angels and corporate partners to assist it in commercializing its technologies. They can also coordinate access to university programs and resources to support your new venture.
It directly benefits an inventor to create and protect intellectual property (IP) in three ways:
- First, the inventor benefits under UConn’s intellectual property policy by sharing in the financial rewards of licenses.
- Second, licensing efforts often either establish or strengthen ties to industrial firms, and these reinforced relationships can directly improve opportunities for additional sponsored research.
- Third, protecting IP is a good way for inventions to be used for the public good.
The process of protecting the technology and finding the right licensing partner may take months – or even years – to complete. The amount of time will depend on the development stage of the technology, participation by the inventing faculty, competing technologies, the amount of work needed to bring a new concept to market-ready status and the resources and acceptance of potential licensees.
Technology is typically transferred through an agreement in which UConn grants to a third party a license to use UConn’s intellectual property rights in the defined technology, sometimes for a particular field of use and/or region of the world. Such a grant may be exclusive or non-exclusive. The licensee (the third party licensing the technology) may be an established company or a new business startup.
Licenses include terms that require the licensee to meet certain performance requirements and to make financial payments to UConn. These payments are shared with the inventors and also distributed to departments and research centers to provide support for further research, education and participation in the technology transfer process. Click here to see the Royalty Sharing Policy.
Operating under the umbrella of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), TCS acts as a bridge to coordinate efforts between industry, venture capitalists and other funding sources to commercialize UConn inventions. TCS staff works with faculty to identify and protect inventions, licenses inventions to industry, and assists faculty and other entrepreneurs to create and grow new firms. TCS staff includes specialists in licensing and business development, and are widely experienced in commercializing technologies across a broad array of fields including the physical sciences, life sciences and information technology. TCS is responsible for managing all of the intellectual property for the University of Connecticut and offering business development resources.
Functions relating to UConn startup companies formerly undertaken by UConn Ventures are now TCS responsibilities. TCS staff takes technologies that can form the basis for a new company and develops the business plan and leadership team, and raises the necessary capital.
TCS includes an incubator (called the Technology Incubation Program or TIP) which provides incubation space and support services at three campuses to nurture companies formed around UConn technologies and to help other companies become successful through use of UConn services and collaboration with faculty. Click here for more information about incubating your company.
This is a federally funded program supported by the U.S. Economic Development Agency (EDA) to promote UConn’s capacity to help industry, facilitating access and creating relationships between faculty, students and industry. Click here for more information on Working with Business.
These initiatives provide further opportunity for businesses and inventors. Please see updates at the OVPR website or visit http://techpark.uconn.edu.
TCP, the Tech Park and Bioscience CT, were formed to provide the infrastructure needed to take university inventions from the laboratory to the marketplace. In addition, they support companies from outside UConn that may benefit from university linkages and collaborations. Learn more about our Incubator Services and Facilities.