1. What are the incentives for participating in technology commercialization?
The mission of The Texas A&M University System is to provide education, conduct research, commercialize technology, offer training, and deliver services for the people of Texas and beyond through its universities, state agencies, and health science center. In pursuing these goals, new products and processes may result that have applications for improving peoples' daily lives and offer the potential for building successful businesses offering employment opportunities for the people of Texas. Technology commercialization is a means of bring new discoveries to the citizens of Texas and beyond, and is rewarded both through recognition of societal impact and financially through sharing of licensing revenues between the System, Members and creators. Additionally, research which has the potential to lead to the development of new technologies with commercial application creates opportunities for industry research support and training and education of graduate and undergraduate students.2. What activities are conducted by the Office of Technology Commercialization?
The Office of Technology Commercialization's activities allow the System to achieve its mission with respect to technology commercialization. The OTC assesses System technologies for their potential to enable commercial opportunities, protects them through the use of appropriate statutory and contractual means, and licenses them to companies which can best make use of the rights to bring new products and services to the public. In order to enhance the effectiveness of this program, the OTC also educates researchers on intellectual property management and provides assistance in negotiation of intellectual property-related terms in research agreements. Where appropriate, the OTC also spins out new companies and provides entrepreneurs with opportunities that make use of System intellectual property and creates alliances with partners to further technological and economic development. When revenue is achieved through these efforts, the OTC ensures that this revenue is distributed as per policy to all stakeholders.3. How does the Office of Technology Commercialization review and manage invention disclosures?
Upon receipt of a disclosure, the Office of Technology Commercialization begins a review process which results in one of three review decisions: The invention is accepted for management, the invention is waived, or the invention is determined to not be owned by the System as a result of not meeting the criteria set forth in policy. Inventions are reviewed for their potential to achieve a return through commercial application. The main considerations are the predicted investment necessary to obtain a revenue stream, and the expected return. For each invention which is accepted for management by the Office of Technology Commercialization, a commercialization plan is developed and executed upon. The nature of this plan varies by the type of invention, but typically includes a description of the intellectual property protection strategy, designed to preserve the System's rights in the invention, and a marketing plan. However, for certain inventions which have potential but are not deemed to be immediately licensable, the plan may focus on overcoming obstacles to licensing.4. How is inventorship determined?
Inventorship is determined by the Office of Technology Commercialization with the assistance of attorneys which are under contract to the System through the Office of General Counsel.5. What happens when the Office of Technology Commercialization waives the System's rights in an invention, or closes as case file on an invention?
Waived or closed technologies may be released to the inventors upon their request. The release is subject to the approval of the System member employing the inventors. Their release may also be subject to obligations to any sponsors of the research that supported the creation of the invention. The release is executed by the signing of a release agreement between the inventor and the Office of Technology Commercialization. The release agreement assigns ownership of the invention to the recipient.6. How does the Office of Technology Commercialization assist with sponsored research?
Each office throughout the System which manages research agreements has the obligation to have those agreements conform with all relevant policies, including those pertaining to intellectual property. Negotiators throughout the System may request assistance from the Office of Technology Commercialization when negotiation involves intellectual property rights.7. How does the Office of Technology Commercialization create research and development alliances?
In the course of marketing and licensing technologies, the Office of Technology Commercialization may identify opportunities for System researchers to work with external parties, especially those in industry. Disposition of intellectual property rights is often an important issue in these discussions, and the Office of Technology Commercialization coordinates with research administration to ensure that a win-win arrangement is achieved with potential partners.8. How does the Office of Technology Commercialization create new companies and foster entrepreneurship?
The System is permitted by state law to start companies in order to achieve the goal of commercializing its intellectual property. Through the OTC, rights in intellectual property and/or cash may be invested in the company to seed the further development of licensed technologies and the commercial opportunity.9. What responsibilities do Members of The Texas A&M University System and their researchers have regarding intellectual property management?
These responsibilities include (1) determining whether significant use of System resources has been made in the development of an invention; (2) authorizing or rejecting requests for patent expenses; (3) resolving disputes regarding equitable distribution of revenue; (4) determining appropriate management and disposition of intellectual property rights under research agreements; (5) determining how and when disclosures should be routed to the Office of Technology Commercialization; (6) Determining the need for faculty education and engaging the Office of Technology Commercialization to provide training; (7) protection of System intellectual property rights prior to disclosure and during the assessment phase; and (8) determining appropriate distribution of revenue received by the Member.