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Innovative TTOs look at new ways to leverage the express licensing concept

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 19th, 2018

While many TTOs have adopted express licenses in one form or another, some are still experimenting with new and different ways to leverage the concept — perhaps getting more than just additional licensing transactions out of the process.

For example, announcing its inaugural “express licensing campaign” in October, Yissum, the technology transfer company of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said it wants to create more clarity and transparency in the tech transfer process while also reducing barriers to the further development of its technologies. While that all sounds conventional enough, the TTO actually has other goals in mind as well, which is one of the reasons why its first foray into express licensing is a “campaign” as opposed to a permanent offering.

“This is not going to be going on forever; we plan on doing this in waves,” explains Yaron Daniely, Yissum’s CEO and president. For instance, while it is not set in stone how long the identified IP assets will be on offer through express licensing, the idea is to remove the streamlined capability from the web at some point — perhaps in three to six months — and then to announce another express licensing campaign in another six to 12 months, possibly recurring on an annual basis to take advantage of all the new disclosures and innovations that Hebrew University produces every year, explains Daniely.

The campaign-style approach is designed to drive traffic to the Yissum site, creating further awareness of Yissum’s technology offerings and capabilities as a research partner. And early results suggest that tactic is working as intended.

“Even though we didn’t take out full-page ads in the New York Times, but rather [promoted this] through social media and some conferences, we have seen just a dramatic spike in traffic to the website, specifically into the express licensing [offerings],” notes Daniely. He adds that there has been a big increase in inquires related to specific technologies as well as positive feedback on the campaign.

Another feature of Yissum’s approach is the fact that it is designed to maximize interest from a diverse group of potential partners. “Normally, these [express licensing offerings] are limited to non-exclusive licenses, so that is kind of the low-hanging fruit of licensing academic opportunities because you can really execute these things pretty easily, given that there are really no rights transferred or ownership of IP disclosed,” notes Daniely. “We have expanded this campaign to not only include non-exclusive licenses, but also exclusive licenses as well as IP sales.”

Further, where a lot of express licensing is focused on software or other computer science technologies, Daniely notes that Yissum has made sure to include technologies from across the scientific spectrum, everything from food and material science to transportation, life science and research tools. “We really tried to find IP assets that come from all disciplines that will go to essentially all kinds of entrepreneurs, corporations and investors,” he says.

Daniely notes that the contract itself is also a novel feature of Yissum’s express licensing approach, as it includes some flexibility for interested partners. “If you download the ready-to-sign contract, you actually may have more than one option for transacting on a particular technology,” he says.

A detailed article on new approaches to express licensing appears in the December issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and get the complete article, along with the publication’s 11+ year archive of best practices and success strategies for TTOs, CLICK HERE.

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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