How can IP be commercialised
Commercialising Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property (IP) can be commercialised or used in several ways:
- Forming a spin-out company. This route involves the University and the academic founders forming a new company (a "spin-out"), and transferring (either by licensing or by assigning) the commercial rights to the IP to the spin-out. The spin-out undertakes the task of developing and commercialising the IP into a product or service and the inventors and the University either derives revenue/royalties from the spin-out’s commercial activity and/or holds equity in the company.
- Licensing the IP directly. This route involves the transfer of the commercial rights to the IP by the University to an existing company. Typically, the existing company would be a company that is well established in the field of the particular IP and has a strong market presence in that field. The existing company is responsible for developing and commercialising the IP and irrespective of whether the company succeeds in commercialising the IP the University will receive at the very least the up-front licence fee and the minimum royalties agreed in the negotiations which is then distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the University’s policy statement on intellectual property (PDF: 136KB).
- Assignment the IP to a commercial party. This is when the University effectively passes ownership over to a commercial party. The University then has no obligations with respect to the protection of the IP but will receive a share of revenues, an up-front payment or a combination of both.
- Pathway to commercialisation. Often the results of research are not in a form to exploit directly and they need considerable further work before their commercial value becomes evident. In this instance we can often attract what is known as translational research funding to take the research further towards application than we normally would. This has a significant benefit in bringing in research funding but also de-risking the technology so that it becomes commercially attractive. Such research tends to require a more commercial or milestone oriented approach to project management but is an important step in helping research get into use.
- Open Innovation. In some instances research results may not be sufficiently attractive to commercial partners but when combined with other research can produce introducing new developments. The University is committed to seeing its research into application and this increasingly has long term benefits to the University through the Research Excellence Framework. In some instances the lack of commercial pool needs to be acknowledged and simply making the research results available will indirectly stimulate new products and services.
A key factor in the route taken is the level of interest taken by the member of academic staff and their commitment to the new technology. The route taken also depends on combination of the following factors:
- the IP itself
- the academics interest
- the barriers to entry to the market
- the potential for growth
- the availability of local expertise in the relevant field
- the availability of finance
- the prevailing regulatory climate
The Faculty Enterprise Team will work with you to seek to identify the most appropriate route.