Tech Transfer eNews Blog
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U Washington TTO relaunches as CoMotion and expands focus to ‘innovation transfer’


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

By any measure, the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle has seen some significant successes in the realm of technology transfer. However, this past January UW embarked on a three-year plan to rebrand and relaunch its former TTO (the Center for Commercialization) as CoMotion, a collaborative, entrepreneurial hub for what the university is calling “innovation transfer.”

The transition requires a willingness to experiment, says Vikram Jandhyala, UW’s vice provost for innovation. “In some sense, we’re trying to drink our own Kool-Aid,” Jandhyala explains. “We talk about innovation as a sequence of small steps that you assess, and then you double-down on the successes and learn quickly from failure. That’s exactly what we’re doing to the office too. We are trying a few experiments so that we can chart the best course for CoMotion and the university.”

CoMotion will focus on innovation, not just commercialization, says Jandhyala. “Given that UW is exceptional across many different fields, we want to broaden that base. So we want to be the collaborative hub for where entrepreneurial thinking projects can get started and create impact. The idea is to help people think like entrepreneurs whether or not they want to create a company. Even if they’re not doing a start-up, they’re trying to solve some problem with limited resources, small teams, and incomplete information — which is the province of entrepreneurial thinking.”

CoMotion’s performance metrics are broader as well, says Jandhyala. “Like many TTOs, we used to be measured based on license revenues and start-up equity. However, for the next three years the metrics will be focused on engagement. For example: How are we engaging with people, including our own faculty and alumni? What is the quality of the engagement, and what are the outcomes? ”

Some of the experiments that CoMotion is implementing as part of its shift to “innovation transfer” include prepackaged IP options for licensees, new contract engineering offerings for industry, a new app that connects mentors with innovators, and new “just-in-time” learning tools designed to conveniently educate faculty and students in key topics around innovation and entrepreneurship. A detailed article on the re-making of UW’s tech transfer operations appears in the  July issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the full article, along with the publication’s extensive archive of TTO best practices and success strategies, CLICK HERE.

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Judge restores landmark Alzheimer’s project to UC San Diego in lawsuit against USC


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

A judge has ruled in a lawsuit against the University of Southern California (USC) that the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) owns the rights to a landmark project on Alzheimer’s disease. continue reading »

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Using Customer Discovery Techniques to Validate Your University IP’s Commercial Viability


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

One of the most critical challenges in managing your IP portfolio is ensuring your technologies actually have a market to sell to. Unfortunately, most TTOs have limited resources and budgets, causing a backlog of cases that can eat up patent dollars before you have a chance to analyze their true potential.

Identifying whether an invention has a market — and if it does, how to best engage with those customers — doesn’t have to break the bank. There is a time- and cost-conscious method called customer discovery — a process that’s being used by tech transfer offices at Auburn University, Georgia Tech, and others.

This method is proven to provide a solid “go” or “no go” decision while cutting down the product pipeline “transit time” by up to two-thirds, so you can vet more technologies and focus more resources on the winners.

We’ve lined up two veterans of the customer discovery process, and they’re ready to provide detailed guidance on implementing the process within your university. Join Auburn’s Doug Warrington and Georgia Tech’s Paul Freet on August 25th for this groundbreaking webinar: Using Customer Discovery Techniques to Validate Your University IP’s Commercial Viability.

For complete details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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Why you should never file a provisional patent application that isn’t fully detailed


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

In his recent article for Lexology, patent attorney Aaron B. Rabinowitz explains why a provisional patent application should be sufficiently detailed, and what happens if it’s not. continue reading »

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Pharma urged to look beyond elite research institutions for R&D partnerships


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

In his recent post, Forbes contributor Frank David offers his two cents on where pharmaceutical companies should look to capitalize on academic innovations. Specifically, David points to Sanofi’s latest agreements with seven major research centers, which include Johns Hopkins, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Columbia University, among others. Sanofi has agreed to fund 20 to 25 seed projects annually, with no strings attached and a wide-open scope. continue reading »

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U of Michigan joins the Apervita online marketplace to commercialize health analytics and data


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

Apervita Inc., a rapidly growing community and marketplace for health analytics and data, has partnered with the University of Michigan (U-M) to help commercialize the school’s portfolio of medical algorithms, assessments and protocols. continue reading »

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8 common elevator pitch blunders, and how start-ups can fix them


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

In his recent post for Entrepreneur, start-up mentor and investor Martin Zwilling warns entrepreneurs of eight common elevator pitch blunders and suggests how to fix them.

“Every investor I know is frustrated by wasted time listening to rambling, emotional pitches that are not to the point,” Zwilling writes. “Passionate entrepreneurs tend to talk on and on about their disruptive technologies, their intent to change the world … but if a business can’t provide quantifiable value to real customers, the dream will likely turn into a nightmare.”

Here are eight missteps Zwilling has seen the most during elevator pitches:

Mistake #1. Insist on leading with the story of the company. In an elevator pitch, you simply don’t have the time to delve into a story. Investors won’t care until they know you have a real solution to a real customer problem. “There will be plenty of time for the details of your arduous journey later,” says Zwilling, “but for now my advice is to postpone the story to a later meeting.”

Mistake #2. Rely on marketing content and emotion vs. facts. Speaking with passion and conviction is all good and fine, but it won’t get you anywhere without having quantified facts to back up your start-up’s market potential. Don’t use fuzzy terms like “nice to have” or “easier to use.” Investors want to hear specifics, like “costs 50 percent less” or “increases productivity by 100 percent.”

Mistake #3. Build up for the punch line at the end. Don’t wait to hook investors at the end of your pitch; you may have already lost their attention by that time. Lead with your hook, which should immediately define a real problem, followed by a specific solution without getting bogged down in the technology. For example, “I have patented a new LCD with double the intensity at half the cost, already proven locally, and I just need resources to scale for this market.”

Mistake #4. Highlight features rather than differentiators. Your product’s overall competitiveness is much more important than its specific features. After delivering your opening hook, acknowledge your competitors and highlight your added value. For example, “Unlike all the other LCD providers, our patented high intensity light has no blue tint or glare that looks unnatural.”

Mistake #5. Focus on the solution and skip your team. No matter how mind-blowing your product is, investors won’t touch it if they don’t trust your start-up team. Your next sentence should explain how you and your team are the right ones to support. For example, “As you may know, my team and I are uniquely qualified for this opportunity based on our first successful start-up with solar.”

Mistake #6. Try to talk fast and extend the time available. Trying to stuff 500 words into your first interaction with an investor will only annoy him or her. Try to limit your elevator pitch to about 150 to 225 words in 30 to 60 seconds, exuding energy, conviction and commitment.

Mistake #7. Neglect to ask for any specific next step. It should be obvious that you won’t walk away from a minute-long elevator pitch with a funding deal in your pocket. You will need to ask for a follow-up session to present your full pitch. Ask for an hour but plan on speaking for only 10 minutes to leave plenty of time for answering questions and concerns.

Mistake #8. Come unprepared with no written documents. “For investors, you always need to offer an executive summary of your business plan to show this is not a dream,” writes Zwilling. Without a business plan or a pitch that backs it up, you will most likely lose your credibility.

“In reality, a good pitch is not just for elevator meetings. It should be in the introduction section of your business plan, on the first side of your investor pitch and the beginning of your executive summary,” Zwilling says. “You will find it the best way to start every networking opportunity, and a key communication vehicle that everyone on your team should know and use.”

Source: Entrepreneur

The Perfect Elevator Pitch: Sell Your IP in 3 Minutes or Less! Your best chance to break through with an investor often comes in the form of an elevator pitch. Learn how to perfect your pitch and close the deal. Click here for more details >>

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Google reworks its patent search engine to include prior art and academic journal citations


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

Google is launching a new version of its search engine for patents, which will now also incorporate related results of prior art and Google Scholar citations. continue reading »

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U of Limerick semiconductor spinoff acquired by ROHM for $70M


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

Japanese electronics firm ROHM has acquired Powervation, a University of Limerick semiconductor company, for approximately $70 million in cash. continue reading »

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Novel IP scoring system makes ranks technologies by commercial potential


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

The TechAdvance Technology Assessment Handbook and its companion online version offer an objective and scientifically proven model for assessing your portfolio of technologies and identifying those with the greatest potential for successful commercialization.

Technology Transfer Tactics is offering this outstanding product through a partnership with apprimo, a Münster University spinoff company whose tech transfer staff developed the system. Using its scoring methodology for early-stage technology assessment, based on 43 researched and validated criteria, TechAdvance will help you to:

  • Increase your commercialization success rate;
  • Objectively assess and triage your technologies;
  • Invest your patent, R&D, and marketing budgets more productively;
  • Avoid the high costs of non-performing technology assets;
  • Take the guesswork and subjectivity out of investment decisions;
  • Justify your decisions to faculty and preserve faculty relationships;
  • Keep politics out of your decision-making;
  • Back a high percentage of winning technologies.

The affordable TechAdvance tool has been carefully tested over years of development and is designed to provide a consistent, organized, and objective system for investing your limited resources in technologies with greatest chance for commercial success. It is available as both a print workbook and online module.

For complete details, CLICK HERE >>

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Hadassah Medical Center researcher develops holographic denture-fitting method


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

A researcher at Hadassah Medical Center in Israel has developed a technology that can design dentures using holographic scanning to avoid the discomfort associated with traditional denture fitting.

continue reading »

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Harvard start-up’s software records patients’ vitals for clinicians to study later


By David Schwartz
Published: July 29th, 2015

A Harvard start-up aims to commercialize a technology that records hospital bed readings such as heart rates, oxygen levels and breathing rhythms for researchers or clinicians to use later.

continue reading »

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