Tech Transfer eNews Blog
University-Industry Engagement Advisor

UC-Santa Cruz digitizes disclosures, NDAs and MTAs to boost faculty service


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 27th, 2019

About one year ago Jeffrey M. Jackson, MS, JD, director of intellectual property management for the University of California at Santa Cruz, implemented a digitized online form for invention disclosures. Since then, 66 invention disclosures have been submitted; prior to last year, he says, the average number of disclosures per year was 44 — a full 50% increase.

“It’s safe to say that’s our best 12-month period ever,” says Jackson. “However, we’ve made a lot of changes, and so we of course can’t attribute all of them to the form. But it certainly isn’t chasing people away.”

While digitized disclosure forms are not new in the world of tech transfer, the changes at UCSD didn’t stop there. Several months later, Jeffrey Jue, Esq., industry agreements officer for Industry Alliances & Technology Commercialization (IATC) at UCSD, followed Jackson’s lead and developed digitized NDA and MTA forms “based on the success Jeff had.”

“Generally, the [faculty] reaction has been very, very positive,” Jackson says. “Everyone who had submitted [a disclosure] before said this was much better — something they could get done in 15-20 minutes.”

Jue agrees. “Early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” he stated in a release issued announcing the new NDA and MTA forms. “Faculty members appreciate the streamlined approach and being able to start the industry agreements process with a familiar Google Form.”

Prior to the online forms, “basically we had a paper-form Microsoft Word or something similar; it was fairly old school,” says Jackson. “It had a lot of detail and was really daunting for our investigators.”

Given the difficulty of getting researchers to disclose inventions, he asserts, “the more barriers you can drop the better.” In the past, not only did faculty have to fill the forms out by hand, but they also required witness signatures and had to be sent by interoffice mail.

“We thought of new features and put in an e-signature; if it’s good enough for the PTO, it’s good enough for us. We also wanted them to be able to upload a document with it — if for example someone has a manuscript or a grant application — and then just hit submit. And, we have a digitized record.”

A detailed article on UC Santa Cruz’s digitization efforts appears in the February issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the full article, as well as the publication’s subscriber-only archive filled with nearly 12 years of best practices and detailed success strategies for TTOs, CLICK HERE.

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