Technology Community- March/April 2001 edition
Online Services Revolutionize Tech Transfer[Reprinted from: FLC "Newslink", Nov/Dec 00]
Important new players have burst onto the tech transfer scene-the tech transfer dot-coms. Offering a variety of online services, these "buying and selling superstores" promise to change, expedite, and improve the tech transfer process and compress the entire tech transfer timeframe.
Almost overnight, the web has become an effective tool for acquiring, showcasing, and exchanging new technologies from hundreds of technology sources. With no geographic boundaries, we are truly moving into a global, knowledge-based economy-and potentially establishing a new tech transfer paradigm.
Opportunities Abound: As a result of this recent online activity, licensing revenues has risen dramatically in recent years. Analysts at yet2.com have estimated that the $100 billion global technology licensing market could increase fivefold in the next several years.
With an estimated $6 trillion worth of non-performing or dormant intellectual property assets in the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan, it is believed that less than 3% of total intellectual property resources are being commercialized. According to Argus Insights, the estimated value of unused U.S. intellectual property ranges from $100 billion to $500 billion. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reports that 160,000 patents were issued in 1999 (an average of 18 an hour!), and it is expected that more than 95% of those patents will not be commercialized.
Industry and Labs Benefit: Large and small technology companies have discovered the bounty and efficiency of the online technology markets. Federal, university, and private labs see the dot-coms as a doorway to their technologies—offering greater access and visibility. Once labs have subscribed or listed their licensable technologies with a dot-com, they have access to available tech transfer tools and financial deal making services, both nationally and internationally. The technologies are also visible to the ideal audience of engineers and scientists at some of the largest companies in the U.S. and abroad. A number of federal labs have already partnered with subscription services or full-service online firms.
"The tech transfer dot-coms offer an innovative way for our labs to push and pull technologies," says Dan Brand, FLC Chair. "The FLC’s role is to bring new opportunities to the labs." In the same vein, Brand says working with dot-coms will leverage the labs’ efforts to locate new technologies.
Dot-Com Differences: Currently, most tech transfer programs at corporations, university, and federal labs are online—more than 6,000 web sites currently feature tech transfer information. More than 40 top dot-coms very actively conduct tech transfer business online—each with a different entrepreneurial focus to serve the needs of labs and industry at all levels.
Tech transfer dot-coms fall into a variety of service models such as intellectual property marketplace, technology exchange, technology bulletin board, auction, or full-service operation. They may also specialize in a particular area (e.g., chemical, biotech) or offer opportunities in a variety of industry areas. Methods of payment vary as well. For databases, you often pay as you go, and online registration may be for a fee. Brokers and consultants such as pl-x.com, UVentures, and yet2.com are paid only through successful licensing and partnering deals.
Profile of pl-x.com: The Patent & License Exchange (pl-x) is "the only tech transfer financial market for intellectual property (IP) assets," says Alex Arrow, Chief Financial Officer. Therefore, Arrow says, industry and companies can close deals faster. The company recently became the only online IP forum to close a transaction.
A safe global marketplace for intangible assets— "patents, trademarks, and know-how"—pl-x offers standardized internationally compliant deal documents, market-driven valuation, and IP escrow. Able to deploy information and risk reduction tools of disciplined financial markets to transform patents into liquid financial assets, pl-x has automatic patent validity insurance, covers every asset licensed/assigned through the company, and protects both licensor and licensee. With the world’s only IP escrow, industry and companies can strike deals with companies with the assurance of getting paid.
Profile on yet2.com: Scott Beal, Business Analyst, explains that yet2.com does not focus on patents because the "legalese" precludes effective marketing. Instead, its technology providers fill out a form that accurately describes the technologies’ benefits, performance highlights, and potential applications. Companies can also group multiple patents into one cohesive technology listing to represent more complete solutions.
With its expanded exposure and this "cross-industrial fertilization," Beal says companies often find applications for a technology from a completely different industry.
Profile on Uventures: One of the first online services, Uventures developed its tech transfer niche with universities and public not-for-profits. Since then, it has partnered with the National Technology Transfer Center to list NASA technologies.
All technology areas are represented. However, CEO Craig Zolan says, "Our strength is in biotech, life sciences, pharmaceuticals—where much of the action is…. We've just begun to scratch the surface of opportunities in tech transfer." UVentures does not render patent or legal advice but offers "content and community"—that is, consulting, marketing, licensing assistance, best practices, and help tapping into the broad community knowledge base. Most important, UVentures assists in the difficult handling and management of intellectual property.
UVentures introduces new industries and enables matches even between non-obvious industries, non-obvious applications, or U.S. and foreign owners.
Headlines from the March/April edition of Technology Community
Page 2 Cybercities in Colorado
Page 3 Energy Science Organization Names Director
Page 4 Optimistic View for Robot Market
Page 5 OUT IN FRONT - Vexcel Corporation
Page 6 ABOUT TOWN - Trade Mission to Argentina and Chile
Page 7 CUBAC and RVC Columns
Page 8 CPIA and T2S Columns
Page 9 Colorado Environmental Business Alliance
Page 10 R&D Funding- CAMI Funding Available
Page 11 TIPS & TREASURES - Power Village by NREL
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