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IP expert offers TTOs advice on using external advisory boards

Laura Schoppe, founder and president of the IP management company Fuentek LLC, recently posted an article for tech transfer offices on the pros, cons, and challenges of using an external advisory board. These boards can provide TTOs with valuable insights on specific industries and “market-fit,” she says, but Schoppe stresses that external advisory boards should not be relied on too heavily. Here’s why:

Time constraints. The board members have day jobs, too, and it can be very difficult for them to spend time and energy helping out TTOs on a regular basis.

Limited value to them. Chances are, if a board doesn’t spot any high potential technologies at a TTO within the first couple meetings, members will quickly lose interest.

Limited expertise from them. Just because they’re experts doesn’t mean board members know your specific technology or field. Industry leaders may know their business model, Schoppe writes, “but they rarely understand licensing and commercialization of embryonic innovations.”

Conflicts of interest. Given the inside information they acquire from working with a TTO over time, external advisory boards will sometimes tailor advice to serve their own best interest. But on a one-time basis, when a board is properly matched with the technology, this is not an issue.

Schoppe says she sees the external board’s value for most TTOs as limited. “In my experience, the ongoing use of an external board is difficult to sustain and may not always serve the best interests of the institution,” she asserts.

Source: Fuentek Blog

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