Technology transfer has long been the home of intellectual property (IP) management at universities and other research-driven institutions. Today’s tech transfer office must be much more robust than that.
Logging discoveries is just one piece of the puzzle. The best tech transfer offices go further, broadcasting those discoveries to drive growth, prestige, and even profit.
Of course, tech transfer is still the place to log and track discoveries. But the role of the modern tech transfer office is to push beyond a “file it and forget it” mentality to full-cycle innovation communication, management, and—perhaps most importantly—active promotion. That said, even the best-staffed tech transfer office can only do so much manually, and that’s where a well-designed digital solution makes all the difference.
This article will reveal the top five questions you should ask when evaluating a tech transfer service provider to ensure they can support the fruits of your research.
#1: Does the solution support the entire tech transfer process?
Simple tools and systems have been proven time and time again to be better than complicated ones. Be wary of any software that requires you to overcomplicate your workflows by using multiple tools to support various stages of the tech transfer process when one will do.
The best solutions offer investigators greater insight into the status of each invention by supporting every stage of research in one place:
- Discovery & Disclosure: Keep technology records connected with smart invention disclosure forms and detail tracking
- Evaluation: Determine the marketability and patentability of inventions by consulting best match experts
- IP Management: Manage patent filings and renewals to protect inventors and partners, and to drive ROI
- Marketing: Market available technologies to attract licensing opportunities
- Licensing: Negotiate and define rights, responsibilities, exclusivity, and license agreement terms; monitor agreement and collect payment
#2: Does it help actively promote research/inventions?
The tech transfer office of a decade ago was a very different place. Inventors might disclose a discovery, only to find that they’d reached the end of the line for their creation.
At its core, tech transfer houses solutions in search of problems. Potential partners are waiting in the wings for those discoveries—the trick is to find them. Today’s tech transfer offices must be affirmative and forward-thinking in their operations, and they should seek out software solutions that do the same.
Rather than merely tracking the results of a university’s research, tech transfer should spread the word about research outcomes and their possible uses, making it easier for great ideas and the people who need them to connect.
Your software should provide the ability to complete marketing activities within the platform, like building a marketing slick and tracking activity around your marketing efforts. Cayuse Inventions even allows you to build a public-facing webpage for your inventions with the click of a button, seamlessly integrating updated information with your institution’s website.
#3: Does the solution provide robust, hassle-free reporting?
Whether your current tech transfer tool is lacking or you’re still struggling without one, you know that it’s nearly impossible to tell a compelling story about your research program by manually cobbling data together in Excel. Manual reporting results in data gaps, undercutting your ability to tell your institution’s story. That story is an important one; it helps attract and retain quality research faculty and directly impacts institutional funding.
Easy access to data is essential in helping your program reach its full potential. You should be able to see a real-time number of technologies, patents, and contracts in one place.
Look for reporting solutions that include:
- Quick access: You should not have to spend days or weeks compiling data; the best tools allow you to pull the information you need with the click of a button
- Error-checking: Work happens fast, and so do mistakes; seek out solutions that will catch errors before they ever leave your office
- Efficient monitoring: With efficient proposal monitoring, you should be able to evaluate your portfolio mix and understand your success rate with ease
#4: How easy are stakeholder communications?
Tech transfer involves many stakeholders beyond inventors: university leadership, law firms, licensees, prospects, etc. Any new technology must make it easy for everyone to log in to a shared portal and communicate directly without creating silos elsewhere.
Ask whether the solution you’re vetting provides an easy-access, cloud-based platform where stakeholders can communicate and reference relevant documentation all in one place.
#5: Does the solution integrate with others?
Integration with other tools isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a necessity. Some stakeholders prefer their own software for specialized tasks like reading and evaluating patents. Rather than manually shuttling data back and forth, an elegant software solution should provide an API to allow for direct communication between digital tools.
Also, look for direct integration with platforms like iEdison to make your regulated communication easy and seamless.
The role of tech transfer has evolved—your software solution should, too. Cayuse Inventions is a market-leading tool designed by tech transfer professionals to support and simplify their work. Contact us today to learn more.