Following up on the positive response to its MN-IP Create program, which takes a lot of the “guesswork” out of sponsored research agreements and offers industry-friendly terms, the University of Minnesota has launched “MN-IP Try and Buy,” which is designed to provide easy access to technologies already developed by the university.
In short, the Try and Buy program will allow interested companies to take technologies for a “test run” before deciding whether to make a more permanent commitment. Companies are granted a low-cost, flat fee agreement to analyze technology under pre-negotiated licensing terms for a trial period. The idea is that by removing the risk of a long-term license, including patent costs, the licensee can first make sure the technology is a good fit and has real commercialization potential. By lowering the risk, the TTO should get more IP into the commercial pipeline, tech transfer leaders reason.
The program comes as a follow-up and supplement of sorts to the university’s MN-IP Create program, which vastly simplifies the contracting process for sponsored research and employs industry-friendly features like pre-set license terms, exclusive worldwide rights, low royalty rates, and affordable prepayments.
“In both cases we are looking at being industry-friendly and embracing this open innovation push and paradigm many companies support,” explains Rick Huebsch, associate director of the university’s OTC. “We want to do the same for existing IP [as we’ve done with sponsored research] — create partnerships for technologies at a research institution.”
The goal, he says, is simple: to have more companies accessing the technologies, to complete more transactions, and to get more technologies transferred. “We’re not looking to get every last penny or have every deal optimized,” says Huebsch. “It’s often difficult to predict how many will succeed, although a lot of universities do that. For us, it’s getting more companies to touch more of our technologies to get more of them transferred.”
Looking to license more technologies is on every TTO’s wish list, he continues, “but we’ve made a paradigm shift where the majority of our technologies will be out there and ready to buy. Basically, people will know what the price is and they can try before they buy. What used to be an exception is now a rule; the majority of our technologies will be available.” A detailed article on the Try and Buy program appears in the March issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To access the complete article, along with our subscriber-only archive filled with hundreds of practical articles, case studies and success strategies for TTOs, CLICK HERE.
Editor’s Note: Technology Transfer Tactics is hosting a webinar April 16th featuring U Minnesota’s tech transfer managers, who will provide an in-depth, detailed look at both the MN-IP Create and the Try and Buy programs, and how these groundbreaking sponsored research and licensing models are generating more deals and transforming the TTO’s relationships with industry. CLICK HERE for details.