Tech Transfer Central
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Achieve Success By Taking a Business-Minded Approach to Tech Transfer

Format: MP3, CD, or PDF Transcript
Originally presented: August 13, 2009

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We’ve spoken to dozens of corporate licensees in the past two years, attempting to determine why many TTOs that are blessed with incredible innovations still struggle mightily to strike commercial licensing deals. The answer, they told me, is not really about strategy — it’s about ATTITUDE. Time after time, these industry negotiators told me their pace of deal-making with tech transfer offices was slowed, if not completely undermined, by a disconnect between their expectations for business savvy and a frequent void in business acumen among tech transfer staff. TTOs and their negotiators, I was repeatedly told, are often hamstrung by university bureaucracy and politics, and even moreso by their own academic approach to contracting. The fact is, corporate negotiators live in a different world, with their own set of unwritten rules of the game — and TTOs must learn those rules and work more effectively within them to win over skeptical licensees.

There is perhaps no better example of this challenge — and how to successfully overcome it — than the storied Johns Hopkins University. Three years ago, Wes Blakeslee, newly appointed executive director of Johns Hopkins’ TTO, was faced with an under-resourced tech transfer operation, which was perceived as dysfunctional and splintered, steeped in the academic world, mistrusted by its own faculty, and seen as a sinkhole for license negotiations by industry licensing managers. Not only did Blakeslee redesign the TTO into a successful profit center, he also reengineered the perception and belief (internally and externally) of what often was viewed as a corporate adversary into a business-minded partner with keen contracting abilities and a willingness embrace flexibility — and adapt to the needs of corporate licensees. As a result Hopkins has seen not only a decisive surge in invention disclosures, licensing revenues, and corporate sponsorships, it has developed a reputation for business savvy that now acts as a magnet for deals.

Now you and your staff can learn first-hand how Johns Hopkins accomplished this remarkable transformation — and how your own TTO can apply these lessons to improve industry relations, boost your business savvy, and ultimately boost your deal flow and licensing revenues with this 90-minute distance learning program:

Achieve Success By Taking a
Business-Minded Approach to Tech Transfer

 

Take a Business Approach to Licensing, AND to Internal TTO Operations

Along with a focus on effecting an attitude change, we’ll also discuss how a business-minded shift can dramatically impact your internal operations, and bring critical improvements in performance and results. Here are just a few of the topics you’ll hear about:

  • People, your most important resource
  • Creating a positive image – in and out
  • Defining and knowing your “customers”
  • Creating a solid data driven business plan and forecast
  • Focus on minimal change for most effect
  • Identifying and focusing on your most promising IP
  • Finding and using reliable data to evaluate your performance and strengthen your market position
  • Knowing when to shift your course for maximum return
  • Enhancing financial analysis, budgeting, and projections
  • Improving and streamlining document and data management
  • Adopting stringent royalty tracking systems and working your aging accounts receivable
  • And much more!

Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division is proud to partner with Mr. Blakeslee on this extremely informative audioconference, designed to give you the specific, real-world strategies and ideas that proved successful at Johns Hopkins — and that will help you transform your office too. And bottom line, what results can you expect? Here’s a quick look at Hopkins’ own “before and after” picture:

  • Disclosures increased from 240 per year to nearly 350
  • Licensing deals increased from 50 per year to over 90
  • Licensing revenue nearly doubled, from $7 million to over $12 million

Your Expert Presenter
Wesley D. Blakeslee, BS, JD, CLP, is Executive Director of Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer. He was formerly an Associate General Counsel at The Johns Hopkins University, where he practiced intellectual property and complex business law. Wes holds an Engineering Degree from Penn State University, and a Law Degree from the University of Maryland School of Law and is a Certified Licensing Professional. He began his professional career as an engineer and systems analyst with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where, among other things, he designed and wrote real time operating systems for spacecraft testing and post-launch control, and managed a programming group. After law school, Wes entered private practice, was a partner in a small regional firm, and in 1983 formed his own practice in Westminster, Maryland, USA. From 1983 to 1989, while in private practice, Wes also served as Director of Computer Development at the University of Maryland Law School, where he also taught computer law. In February 1999, he became Associate General Counsel at The Johns Hopkins University. Wes also served for many years as a director of a national bank. He is frequently a featured speaker at national, state and local conferences and has been cited as a national authority on intellectual property issues in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and other publications. 

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