Monday, January 31, 2011

MIT Technology Licensing Office

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a private research institute in USA, is regarded as one of the most active technology transfer office in USA and possibly the world. The Institute shares their success story with an faq located here.

Excerpts of the FAQ

What was your revenue for FY 2010?
Gross Revenue $76.2 M
Royalties $60.1 M
Patent Reimbursement $8.8 M
Equity Cash-In $1.1 M

Do you file foreign patents?
We attempt to preserve foreign filing rights by filing the initial U.S. patent, whenever possible, before the first public disclosure. More than half of our U.S. filings are followed up with an international PCT filing. Later foreign patent prosecution is dependent upon the licensing situation.

What share of royalties do inventors get? How much money was distributed to inventors last year?
Inventors share one-third of royalties after deduction of a 15% administration fee and any unreimbursed patent expenses. Over 19 million dollars were distributed to inventors.

What is the background of your licensing officers?
Most have technical backgrounds (often engineering) and have spent a dozen or more years in industry. Most have worked in product development, marketing and/or business development and understand the process of bringing new technology to market. Some also have Ph.D.'s, some M.B.A.'s, and some legal backgrounds. All are problem solvers with excellent communication skills and are good negotiators.

What functions are performed by your licensing officers?
Each officer manages individual "cases" from beginning to end, including: evaluation of invention disclosures, management of literature searches, market assessment, decisions on patent filing, managing of outside attorneys on patent prosecution, marketing of the technology to potential licensees, negotiation of license agreements, and monitoring of licensee performance.

Can any university do it?
Yes. Start with outstanding people; clear, articulated policies; and a streamlined process. To get started, however, you will also need a sum of money to invest in filing patents and building a portfolio. Do not expect to break even for five years or more.

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