Marketing technologies to companies potentially interested in them will give these technologies the greatest chance of being licensed. Technology developed at the University and not previously committed to a commercial sponsor will be marketed to as many companies as appropriate.
Contacts are established with potential licensees by three primary routes:
- approaches by the University to potentially interested parties;
- approaches to the University by interested parties who have read a paper describing the work or heard a talk about it;
- personal contacts to which the inventor describes the work.
If the University is to take the lead in identifying potential licensees, a non-confidential disclosure is prepared. This is a marketing document that has no restrictions on the use to which it will be put, and is intended to spark interest in the technology. The elements of a non-confidential disclosure are:
- a summary of the technology developed, stressing the results achieved, not how they were achieved;
- the current state of competing products in the market place and their limitations; and
- an indication of why this technology is superior and will offer the licensee a competitive advantage.
As part of this process, all of the specific applications of the technology should be identified. These may constitute discrete fields of use (i.e., markets) that can be licensed separately.
It is helpful if the inventor is actively involved in the preparation of a non-confidential disclosure; however, the Office of Tech Transfer will develop one as necessary using information supplied during the invention disclosure process.
The non-confidential disclosure will be provided to companies known or believed to be interested in the fields of use of the invention.
Companies that express interest normally will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. Subsequently, the Office of Tech Transfer will send confidential information, such as a patent application or research data, to them. Companies will also generally want to talk with the inventor at this stage.
Finally, all interested companies will be asked to submit proposed license terms, covering both the financial aspects and the developmental commitment they are prepared to make. These proposals will be compared and the most appropriate one(s) selected for license negotiation