Streamlined research sponsorship model to make IP licensing “easier and faster”

UW-Madison’s newly developed intellectual property options program, Badger IP Industry Advantage, represents a new approach to partnerships between research sponsors and the university, highlighted by a set menu of options to reduce time spent negotiating.

A news post from the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research explains how the program makes it “easier and faster for UW researchers to license laboratory discoveries to businesses and entrepreneurs who can then turn them into important and even life-saving commercial products.”

From the story, “UW unveils intellectual property models to build industry partnerships”:

With the Badger IP Industry Advantage program, companies interested in conducting research through the University can avoid some of the past speed bumps in tech transfer – the cycle of bringing knowledge and technologies to society through actions such as commercialization and publication….

“IP is a complex topic and the IP models in the Advantage program help us to communicate IP expectations for agreements more clearly,” explains Chris Kozina, assistant vice chancellor of industry engagement. “Businesses appreciate flexibility, simplicity and knowing where to go for information. We now have a shared view across UW–Madison schools and colleges, about expectations in working with outside partners. And we have designed these models with mutual benefit in mind for all parties involved.”

“Companies both in and out of state have told us that they have been waiting for this,” says John Garnetti, director of the Office of Business Engagement. “These models help us to better communicate what was already possible and approved. I think this will streamline the process and eliminate a lot of confusion upfront.”

The program was also featured in the latest edition of the monthly publication University-Industry Engagement Advisor, which describes how the Advantage program was designed to fit the needs of sponsors and researchers in a uniquely UW–Madison way:

“We thought through the upper limits of what we would do [to eliminate the need for negotiations as much as possible],” says Robert Gratzl, JD, UW–Madison’s assistant director of contracts, research, and sponsored programs. “What won’t we do? We’ve given the best options available.”

“We have heard feedback from industry partners and potential partners, as well as internally from our researchers, that it would benefit all parties to have a clear, upfront approach to interactions and to provide consistency in offered and accepted IP terms,” adds UW–Madison interim vice chancellor for research Cindy Czajkowski, PhD. “We have historically engaged in negotiation for IP terms, and we will continue to do that, but ideally, we want to save time and expenses by offering the best possible IP terms upfront. We want to be clear, transparent, and able to provide a timely response to industry sponsors.

“We’re not saying we won’t negotiate IP terms, because there may be instances where a company wants something other than the terms offered through the Badger IP Industry Advantage,” she continues. “But in most cases, we’re offering the best possible option upfront.”

Then there are the names of the options themselves. Many such university programs simply offer “Option I,” “Option II,” and “Option III,” but UW–Madison has chosen to call theirs “The Classic,” The Varsity,” and “The Bascom” — all related to specific aspects of university history and tradition. “We wanted them to be fun and interesting,” explains Natasha Kassulke, director of strategic communications. “We have great pride in our history of 175 years, the success we’ve had in therapeutics, and we’re highly motivated to talk about that whenever we can.”

“It tells industry partners that we are open and ready to collaborate,” adds Czajkowski. “With the Badger IP Industry Advantage, we are sending a message to potential and existing industry partners that we have heard them, we value them, and that we have implemented more flexibility in our terms. This was a key input from the business community — more flexibility.”

While noting that “it’s a bit too early to tell” how strong industry response will be to the program, she notes that the Badger IP Industry Advantage has already been used with two corporate sponsors so far, “so that’s a good start.” One has resulted in the licensing of an invention, while the other partner has started doing task orders and selecting options under a master agreement. “Both are in the College of Engineering,” she reports.

Read the article: “Flexibility, distinctive branding mark UW–Madison’s new IP options program.”

Potential industry sponsors of research partnerships should contact OBE for more information.

UW–Madison faculty and staff should contact Research and Sponsored Programs for questions about ongoing sponsored agreements.