Archive for March, 2010

Reflections from New Orleans at the AUTM 2010 Annual Meeting

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Laura Schoppe (Fuentek president and founder) and I staffed an exhibitor booth at the 2010 annual meeting of AUTM (Association of University Technology Managers) in New Orleans from March 18th to 20th. The meeting included 1,650 attendees and more than 70 exhibitors. We engaged with hundreds of technology transfer professionals across the globe over three very full days.

 

Fuentek Booth @ AUTM 2010 Annual Meeting

The exhibit floor remained quite busy throughout the conference and provided both of us with new insights into the current challenges and opportunities for university tech transfer offices across several continents. The feedback on the plenary sessions, presentations, and panel sessions overall was positive. We have already initiated our planning for participation in the 2011 annual meeting.

 —By Jack Spain

IP Marketing Iterative Process: Getting the Deal

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

In recent posts on Marketing Intellectual Property, I have conveyed the merits of implementing an iterative marketing process; validating your decision to invest your resources in commercializing a technology; developing your marketing plan; executing your plan; and proactively scheduling checkpoints to regularly validate your plan. The final and most critical step is to ensure that you are attentive to the remaining tasks to position you to successfully execute a licensing agreement.

There are several key points to consider throughout this stage of the process.

  1. Understand the perspective of your licensee. You must ask the right questions and invest time to ensure that you understand what is included in the agreement for the licensee to position this deal for a successful win-win-win outcome (institution, inventors, and licensee). Will your technology provide the licensee with a strategic competitive advantage? It your technology synergistic or complementary to their existing commercial offerings, or does it provide the licensee with new market opportunities. Is the licensee anticipating that they will be granted exclusivity to your patents, or are they specifically looking for field of use or geographic rights? The answers to these questions provide the framework for a mutually-beneficial licensing agreement.
  2. Communicate the licensing process. It is imperative to clearly define, document, and communicate your licensing process for prospective licensees to improve the cycle time and the productivity for negotiating agreements. Publishing your expectations, licensing steps, application and agreement templates, and key contact information on your tech transfer website benefit all parties.
  3. Manage the licensing process. Proactively managing expectations regarding the time investment, key milestones in the licensing and approval process, along with financial commitment expectations will result in fewer surprises, debates, and disputes throughout the negotiation process. This is important for all internal and external stakeholders involved to avoid unnecessary delays. For many technologies, time-to-market is critical and delays in the licensing process can result in deals that do not get executed due to lost market opportunities from other emerging innovations. It is also important to continue to stay focused and not get distracted by other initiatives competing for your attention this close to the “finish line” of getting the deal.

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Signing a licensing agreement is a very satisfying and rewarding experience and is often the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work and planning over many months. Enjoy the moment and leverage your recent experiences as lessons learned for your next licensing deal. Remember that if your prospective licensee is not requesting exclusive access to your patents, you should also continue to support your marketing campaign in parallel with managing current deal opportunities.

—By Jack Spain

IP Marketing Iterative Process: Checkpoints for the Marketing Plan

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

In recent posts on Marketing Intellectual Property, I have described the merits of implementing an iterative marketing process; validating your decision to invest your resources in commercializing a technology; developing your marketing plan; and executing your plan. Another essential element of an effective iterative process is to incorporate timely checkpoints to test and validate your assumptions, reflect on the feedback that you have received, and communicate with your key stakeholders.

 

Pausing periodically to update your marketing plan based on the results you have achieved to-date positions you for greater success in commercializing your technologies and to proactively manage expectations with your management and the respective inventors. It is not uncommon for often unforeseen events to change the market landscape for a target innovation. For instance, consider the impact on:

 

  • the appeal of specific technologies after changes in political administrations (e.g. innovative green technology solutions)
  • the appeal of specific technologies after natural disasters (e.g. innovative geospatial solutions to assist relief efforts in Haiti and Chili)
  • the appeal of specific technologies after national security incidents (e.g. innovative airport security solutions)
  • the appeal of specific technologies after a major FDA product recall (e.g. innovative agricultural product screening solutions)

 

I recommend that you schedule a checkpoint every 30 to 90 days for each of the technologies that you are actively marketing to:

 

1.         Reevaluate the approach you are using to engage target licensees.

 

2.         Recalculate your anticipated return on investment from your marketing campaign.

 

3.         Reassess your target markets for commercializing subject technologies.

 

4.         Adjust your online marketing materials periodically to reflect frequently asked questions and additional insights you have gained.

 

4.         Proactively update key stakeholders on your progress and plans for the subject technologies.

 

Please share specific events that you have experienced that have had a remarkable impact on marketing innovations in your technology portfolio.

 

—By Jack Spain