Mar 19

Commercializing University Technologies

Creating a new marketplace to license university inventions was listed as one of the “Ten Breakthrough Ideas for 2010” in the January-February issue of the Harvard Business Review.

Under the current licensing system each university relies on its own technology licensing office to commercialize new technologies. But, many have criticized the current approach as an inefficient way to quickly commercialize promising new technologies. Authors Litan and Mitchell advocate for a new approach in which faculty are able to choose their own licensing agents in the hope that a free market will drive commercialization of new technologies more efficiently.

The Department of Commerce has recently launched an Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) to promote entrepreneurship across the country. The OIE is exploring how to better commercialize inventions from university labs and recently held a forum to discuss ideas such as Litan and Mitchell’s. If the OIE is able to increase the number of marketable technologies coming out of universities there may be a richer source of potential start-ups in the near future. The interplay between universities and start-ups should be an interesting space to watch.

— Sean Brady, VP NYU Recruiting 2009-2010

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