Duke’s IP management success

2x more efficient and enables improved processes across campus


Duke University manages a large portfolio of IP assets for commercialization. Their Office of Licensing & Ventures has a lot to manage, annually receiving over 400 invention disclosures, 100 issued patents, hundreds of licenses and options, 15+ startups all resulting in an average of $50M in revenues over the past few years.

As an innovation power-house, Duke University’s research enterprise and tech transfer operations needed to upgrade their IP database and platform. The administration wanted to simplify its infrastructure, improve service to its faculty and licensees, manage costs, and dramatically improve metrics tracking and reporting.

Robin Rasor, Duke’s Associate VP for Translation & Commercialization, explained: “We’ve made a conscious effort to increase interest and participation by our faculty in innovation and entrepreneurship. As activity has expanded, so have the challenges of maintaining budgets, holding down patent expenses, collecting and distributing revenue, and simply getting the technologies marketed and licensed.”

Rasor explained that running reports was virtually impossible in the past, and extremely time consuming. “The database was so hard to use, we ran a shadow system on top of our main database in order to make it easier,” Rasor recalled. “It was crazy! Only a few people could actually pull the data, which took time and was not always accurate.”

Duke University

“Cayuse has become the center of the universe for everyone involved in Tech Transfer at Duke.”

Robin Rasor
Associate VP for Translation & Commercialization


Rasor’s goal was to implement a system that integrated various data sets and allowed any user to independently access the data and generate reports on demand. She also wanted the system to be more transparent to faculty and the administration, and to be paperless. Rasor’s counterpart at Duke’s Office of Research Contracts, Gavin Foltz, needed a better way to track agreement negotiations (MTAs, NDAs and industry clinical and other contracts) and provide reports easily accessible to PIs and to their department research administrators. Cayuse Inventions delivered all that and more.

Cayuse Inventions became the Duke Innovate Portal, providing investigators and research coordinators direct access to a database of current research and license contracts at the investigator or departmental level. Inventions captures online disclosures, monitors inventions, patent and agreement status, and facilitates iEdison and AUTM reporting.

Cayuse Inventions at Duke

Ultimately, the new portal simplified database systems management while helping control costs and dramatically speeding up activity reporting. Rasor credits Cayuse Inventions with achieving her goals and enabling her office to implement a solution that everyone involved found easy to use with data instantly accessible to all. “We felt especially fortunate when we had to operate remotely with little advance notice due to COVID-19. The system is fast, cloud-based, and accessible on our phones and iPads resulting in very little disruption to the office processes.”

In addition, Cayuse Inventions has helped OLV increase its marketing efforts exponentially as compared to just a few years ago. The team knew that they could market these innovations better, and with Cayuse the intuitiveness has made the difference. It is now possible for the licensing manager to find out the status of marketing efforts in real time, helping them make quicker decisions on protection and licensing of inventions with data that can be provided to the inventor as backup to these decisions. And deal source is now trackable as well, so the office can identify improvements and track marketing efficiency.

“Cayuse Inventions was hands down the best option. There was no question. The great thing about Inventions is that the user interface is so easy and requires very little training.”

Robin Rasor
Associate VP for Translation & Commercialization


Cayuse Inventions streamlined Duke’s IP management, reduced manual work and has helped identify hundreds of thousands in unbilled licensee revenue. In one instance, Cayuse Inventions enabled OLV to identify an inter-institutional agreement in which the other partner owed Duke a significant amount in royalty payments. The system has also enabled OLV to significantly reduce its accounts receivables by providing a more efficient real-time management of agreements in arrears.

While revenue has been growing, Duke has been able to manage and distribute that revenue more efficiently than in the past as they completely revamped entire office processes. By reimagining the ‘lab to market’ process with Cayuse, Duke has seen demonstrable impact across a variety of critical areas for the Office of Licensing and Ventures and Office of Research Contracts, including:

  • Real-time data
  • Simplified reporting
  • Increased faculty engagement and transparency
  • Reduced expenses
  • Heightened billing accuracy

Creating reports that once took a week now takes mere minutes with Inventions. And anyone with system permissions can generate their own reports. The database is shared with the conflict of interest committee as well as with the Office of Counsel, saving time for all parties in accessing needed information.

According to Rasor, “Cayuse Inventions was hands down the best option. There was no question. The great thing about Inventions is, it’s so easy it requires very little training.” In fact, a survey of over 2,000 faculty members across Duke’s schools of Medicine, Nursing, Engineering, and Arts and Sciences, showed a 90% satisfaction rating across all departments based on the ease of completing online OLV invention disclosure forms and OLV licensing staff responsiveness.

Cayuse Inventions even allows OLV to manage all bills with patent attorneys and other vendors. “No more paper! All our patent firms send us bills electronically through our Inventions portal and we bill out to licensees electronically,” Rasor said. “Cayuse Inventions has become the center of the universe for us.”

“Creating reports that once took a week now takes just minutes with Inventions.”

Robin Rasor
Executive Director of Licensing & Ventures

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