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iEdison’s new utilization reporting coming due, and many TTOs are not ready

A detailed article on the impending deadline and compliance challenges associated with the new iEdison utilization reporting requirements appears in the November issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the complete article, or for further subscription details, click here.

The deadline for responding to the new utilization requirements in iEdison is quickly approaching, and technology transfer offices may well be sweating the details. NIST announced late last year that it was pausing notifications for reporting to upgrade the system. As of October 2023, entities using iEdison must provide utilization reporting for all federally funded research, and annually thereafter, for the preceding October 1 through September 30. Reports are not considered past due until January 1, 2024.

The Interagency Working Group for Bayh-Dole developed a standard set of questions to be asked of all agencies using iEdison. Officers are asked to select from three categories indicating the latest state of development of each funded initiative. Answers are available in a pull-down menu, and each following question is contingent on the question preceding it. The three categories are:

  • Not Licensed or Commercialized
  • Licensed
  • Commercialized

Those receiving federal funds should be ready to answer questions about the status of each grant, the gross amount of income received, the number of licenses or options recorded, names of products developed, and the names of the manufacturer of products as well as where products are manufactured. (For a complete listing of questions, click here.) When several universities share a grant, the lead institution is responsible for completing the information.

Large TTOs may have the systems in place to easily comply, but Nikki Borman, chief executive officer of Borman & Company, feels that it’s going to be difficult for the majority of universities. “As we look at all the new manufacturing mandates for licensing of federally funded technology, it necessitates reporting requirements [including] names of licensees, names of manufacturers, numbers of units sold, gross annual revenue — none of that is being tracked right now, or very few entities are tracking that,” she says.

Borman, a former technology transfer staffer at MIT, points to products like pharmaceuticals, which are often manufactured offshore. “That’s going to be a huge problem to go to licensees in these industries who have offshore manufacturers and have them be able to gather together information that they are probably not keeping to really fill in the Bayh-Dole requirements, and it’s also going to require a lot more manpower to do that,” says Borman.

She emphasizes that most offices are not going to have the staffing to collect the information. “It’s a new world of utilization reporting. It must be updated on an annual basis. It’s going to challenge technology transfer offices to allocate resources. I don’t think they have the bandwidth to do that. They certainly should have a greater focus on compliance, but I don’t think they … have the budget to do that unless you’re at a certain level.”

Borman notes that “universities have very specific and well-maintained budgets, and not only will getting more staff be a challenge, but finding help with the know-how to assist with the new reporting requirement will make it even more difficult. “It’s hard to get people who know this stuff,” she says.

The struggle to comply may also impact relationships with licensees, who may need to be hounded for information, Borman believes. “It’s also going to rub the wrong way in their relationships with industry both foreign and domestic,” she predicts.

Then there is the learning curve that will come from the new iEdison interface. “It’s complex,” says Borman. “It’s not quite actually working as it should be yet. I was the finance and systems person at MIT, but I was also in Big Four consulting, and I saw this kind of thing writ large in a number of other areas, so I see this happening again. It’s not going to be a small kind of change; this is a huge change.”

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