A Pragmatic, “Just-in-Time” Business Model For Academic Technology Transfer

by Robert S. MacWright

Robert S. MacWright

Ph.D., Esq., Executive Director and CEO, University of Virginia Patent Foundation, Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.A.

Many see our profession as more focused on public good than revenues. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that academic technology transfer is a business, and that we best serve the public good when we view it that way. Since 1997, the Patent Foundation has operated under what we refer to as a deal-based business model. Under this model, in most cases a license is negotiated before the big money is spent on converting a provisional patent application to a PCT or regular U.S. application. We believe this model has proven to be far better than the patent-based model under which a separate (and sometimes open-ended) budget for patenting expenses drives the conversion process.

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