How universities promote entrepreneurship – TechCrunch

15 institutions have teamed up to create a centralized pool of licensed IPs

Earlier this year, 15 top US universities have joined forces to launch a one-stop-shop where businesses and startups can discover and license patents.

Working together, Brown, Caltech, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, University of Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn, Princeton, SUNY Binghamton, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Southern California and Yale formed The University Technology Licensing Program LLC (UTLP) to create a centralized pool of licensed IP addresses.

The UTLP comes as more higher education institutions step up their investments in the entrepreneurial pipeline to help more students launch startups after graduation. In some cases, schools act as accelerators, providing students with resources and helping them connect with VCs to find seed funding.

To get a better look at the new program and more information on the college-to-startup pipeline, we spoke to:


The UTLP initiative appears to be focused more on licensing intellectual property to existing companies, rather than accelerating college startups.

Orin Herskowitz: The UTLP effort is actually much more about licensing at the somewhat broken interface between universities and very large tech companies when it comes to intellectual property licensing. But I do know that USC and Columbia and many of our peers, especially over the past three to seven years, have pivoted in a massive way to help our faculty students realize their entrepreneurial dreams and launch startups around this exciting university technology.

The word “broken” jumped out at me. Historically, what has been the problem?

Orin Herskowitz: Universities have traditionally been a source of amazing inventions that save and improve lives for decades. There have been a ton of new drugs and medical devices, cybersecurity improvements, and search engines like Google that have rolled out of universities over the years that have been funded by the federal government and developed in laboratories, then licensed to a startup or industry. And that was great. At least for the last couple of decades, this interface has worked really well in some areas, but not so well in others. So in life sciences, in energy, in advanced materials, in these industries, most of the time these innovations that end up having a huge impact on society are based on one, two or three eureka moments. fundamentals. There’s like a patent or two behind a huge new cancer drug, for example.

However, in the tech space the dynamics are very different because most of the time these inventions are incredibly important and they launch a whole new generation of products and services, but the problem is that a new device, like a iPhone, or software, can build on dozens or even hundreds of innovations from many different universities, instead of just one or two.

Obviously, not all breakthroughs require launching a startup. I guess the vast majority of these things to come would make more sense to work with existing businesses.

Jennifer Dyer: We have all focused on innovation within the university and we really help our students and professors who want to start businesses to start these businesses. If you look at the space, helping educate our students that starting a business in a high tech space may mean they have to go out and acquire 100 different licenses, then maybe it didn’t. no Sens. We’re going to do non-exclusive licenses, and that’s not preventing anyone from moving forward with this technology. This is probably the first pool of non-standard essential high-tech patents, which makes it somewhat unique. Because if you look back, most pools have been around standard essential patents.

The question of exclusivity is an interesting one. Aren’t you granting exclusive rights for the right price?


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