Two press items hit the same day this week regarding commercializing the intellectual property resources at universities. (I leave it to the reader to compare and contrast the exploitation of the manufacturing / process intanglibles represented in the first case, and the marketing intangible represented in the second.) Suffice it to say, a key challenge for Provosts, TTOs and IP Managers remains inventorying and exploiting all of an organization’s intangible assets.
In the first, the University of Arizona Board of Regents reported that the University Office of Technology Transfer signed 64 licensing and "option" (... no word on the mix here, but the trend towards the less risky option deals in the Biotech world continues to be problematic for universities...) agreements in 2010, a 49% increase over the year before. Revenue from licensing and options totaled approximately $1.26M in 2010, which was 27 percent more than in 2009, but less than the university’s high-water mark of $2.11M in 2006. (Of course, the key is revenue, not number of agreements, especially if "option" agreements are being counted equally. Also left unreported is the trend in time frames being granted in those option agreements.)
Hats off to investigative reporting by the Daily Iowan for the second release. Licensing of the University of Iowa’s trademark brought in nearly $2.4M from roughly 550 licensees in fiscal 2010, up from $2M in 2009 and $1.8M in 2008. (All of these revenues currently remain available to the athletic department at the university.)