From dorm rooms to board rooms: How universities are promoting entrepreneurship

From dorm rooms to board rooms: How universities are promoting entrepreneurship

Earlier this yr, 15 high U.S. universities joined forces to launch a one-stop store the place companies and startups can uncover and license patents.

Working in live performance, Brown, Caltech, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, the University of Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn, Princeton, SUNY Binghamton, UC Berkeley, UCLA, the University of Southern California and Yale fashioned The University Technology Licensing Program LLC (UTLP)  to create a centralized pool of licensable IP.

The UTLP arrives as extra larger schooling establishments are beefing up their funding within the entrepreneurial pipeline to assist extra college students launch startups after commencement. In some situations, faculties function accelerators, offering college students with assets and serving to them join with VCs to seek out seed funding.

To get a greater take a look at the brand new program and extra perception into the university-to-startup pipeline, we spoke to:

  • Jennifer Dyer, government director, USC Stevens Center for Innovation
  • Orin Herskowitz, senior vp of Intellectual Property and Tech Transfer, Columbia University
  • Marc De Leeuw, accomplice, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
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The UTLP initiative appears to be extra centered on licensing IP to present firms, moderately than accelerating college startups.

Orin Herskowitz: The UTLP effort is de facto far more about licensing to the considerably damaged interface between universities and really massive firms within the tech area in the case of licensing mental property. But I do know USC and Columbia and lots of of our friends, particularly during the last three to seven years, have pivoted in a large strategy to serving to our college college students fulfill their entrepreneurial goals and launch startups round this thrilling college expertise.

The phrase “damaged” jumped out at me. Historically, what has the issue been?

Orin Herskowitz: Universities have historically been a supply of fantastic, life-saving and life-improving innovations, for many years. There’s been a ton of recent medication and medical gadgets, cybersecurity enhancements, and engines like google, like Google, which have come out of universities over time, that had been federally funded and developed within the labs, after which licensed to both a startup or the trade. And that’s been nice. At least during the last couple of a long time, that interface has labored actually, very well in some fields, however much less properly in others. So, within the life sciences, in vitality, in superior supplies, in these industries, quite a lot of the time, these improvements that find yourself having a big impact on society are based mostly actually on one or two or three core eureka moments. There’s like one or two patents that underlie an infinite new most cancers drug, as an illustration.

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In the tech area although, it’s a really totally different dynamic as a result of, quite a lot of the time, these innovations are extremely vital and so they do launch an entire new technology of services, however the issue is {that a} new machine, like an iPhone, or a bit of software program, may depend on dozens and even tons of of improvements from throughout many various universities, versus only one or two.

Obviously not each breakthrough necessitates the launch of a startup. I assume that the overwhelming majority of this stuff which can be coming would take advantage of sense to work with present firms.

Jennifer Dyer: We’ve all had this renewed give attention to innovation throughout the college and actually serving to our college students and college that wish to begin firms, launch these firms. If you take a look at the area, serving to educate our college students that launching an organization in a high-tech area might imply that they must exit and purchase 100 totally different licenses, so perhaps it doesn’t make sense. We’re going to be doing nonexclusive licensing, and it doesn’t preclude anybody from shifting ahead with this expertise. This might be the primary pool for nonstandard important patents within the high-tech area, which makes it considerably distinctive. Because should you look again, many of the swimming pools have been round normal important patents.

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The query of exclusivity is an fascinating one. You wouldn’t grant unique rights for the precise charge?


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