Tech Transfer University Reporter

How to Double your Faculty’s Invention Disclosure Rate

By Debi Melillo
Published: February 17th, 2014

I hope everyone came through last week’s weather unscathed. Here in the Northeast, we had over a foot dumped on us in some areas. The kids loved yet another snow day… us parents, not so much! Fortunately, I’ll be getting far away from the white stuff and heading to the Annual AUTM conference in San Francisco tomorrow. If you’ll be there, visit us at our booth in the exhibit hall. We’ll have really cool new “Tech Transfer Warrior” t-shirts to give away as prizes and bonuses as well as show-only special deals on distance learning programs, newsletters and references. We are looking forward to meeting you and enjoying a much-needed break from winter weather!

In today’s post we’re highlighting a distance learning program we hosted last year that was led by Gary Breit, who is the Director of Innovation Management with the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. Gary has a proven track record of significantly increasing the disclosure rates in each tech transfer program he’s headed. His proven method shapes invention disclosures to affect the marketability of those technologies while controlling costs.  This process is really the first step towards building a collegial relationship and providing excellent service.  While this approach is a bit labor-intensive on the front end, the results can be astonishing. Read on for some of Gary’s best practices for building the foundation… and if you’d like to get the entire recorded webinar on DVD or on-demand video, CLICK HERE for details.

Think of tech transfer as a sales and marketing issue with heavy overlays of the technical and legal.
When you recruit, recruit brand managers from industry. It’s difficult to do in the academic milieu, so recruit scientists and try to back-in or teach something about sales and marketing tactics.

Create a case for a new, compelling opportunity. 
Meet first with the chief academic officer.  In some universities, that’s called the provost.  Regardless of the official title, this academic officer needs to understand, number one, your commitment to the academic milieu, and subsequent to that the approach you’re going to take to tech transfer, the policies that you’re going to follow, the practices that you’re going to use. 

Then talk to the dean.  The dean wants to hear about service expectations.  And, finally talk with the department chairs.  Now, you want to do two or three things with the department chairs… Remind them of the process from the faculty viewpoint, secure a departmental seminar invitation (impact the faculty members through a newsletter, if you have one, through the direct visits that you make, and through the departmental presentations.) It’s important that you get to that head of the department or chair and secure an invitation to present.

Finally, engage with faculty and understand the faculty’s pressures.  During this meeting, you want to find out what their goals are, what their needs and their pressures are.  Where are they in terms of tenure and promotion?  How well are they funded and by whom? 

Get your hands on each faculty member’s research plan.
Every faculty member constructs one and has communicated the plan to funding agencies, so you need to understand that plan to anticipate the resultant IP, the timeline (and shared inventorship or ownership , etc). This is where electronic and personal follow-up meetings in the faculty’s own space or lab are most beneficial.

The Southern Paradigm.
The Paradigm is based on the notion that faculty service results from understanding faculty through an orderly series of communications.  These communications ensure that you understand the faculty member’s field, personal aspirations and concerns. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of new IP disclosures and to “shape” those disclosures to increase value and lower expenses.

For more in-depth details regarding the Gary’s approach, please CLICK HERE to order the archived webinar, Get Aggressive and Double Your Faculty’s Invention Disclosure Rate, which is available on DVD, On-Demand Video and PDF Transcript.

We thank Gary Breit, who is the Director of Innovation Management with the University of Louisiana, Lafayette for his valuable insight.


Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division wants you!
If you have a case study, topic of expertise or are interested in presenting a webinar on a program listed in our 2014 roster (found here) please send the topic and your bio to Debi Melillo at for consideration.

Upcoming webinars:

Visit for more unique, practical, and advanced strategies, case studies, best practices, and expert guidance on a broad range of challenges and opportunities for technology transfer offices and professionals.

Posted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

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