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Streamlining Research Commercialization

on April 21, 2010 Source: Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship

A new paper by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Facilitating the Commercialization of University Innovation: The Carolina Express License Agreement, presents a novel licensing process for commercializing university research that can support American universities' startup companies and enable long-term economic growth.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has developed the Carolina Express License Agreement, a standard licensing agreement to commercialize academic discoveries that eases the formation of new companies. As the paper outlines, accelerating the process by which university researchers license innovations to a startup company is a way to drive economic growth and create jobs. The groundbreaking agreement allows potential startups to select an appropriate standardized licensing agreement. By creating a standardized licensing agreement, UNC departs from current commercialization guidelines issued by the Association of American Universities, which states that all technologies arise under unique circumstances and therefore require a customized licensing process, which can take considerable time with unpredictable results.

"Our country's current economic state demands new mechanisms to advance innovation. With the federal government providing much of the money for academic research, we need more tools that help our universities and entrepreneurs facilitate the kind of research that can spark industry shifts and drive job growth," said Lesa Mitchell, vice president at the Kauffman Foundation and one of the paper's co-authors.

The Carolina Express License Agreement was developed by a committee of UNC faculty entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, attorneys and UNC's Office of Technology Development as a way to shorten the cycle time in which federally funded inventions move from lab to market. "The Carolina Express License Agreement is an example of how universities and entrepreneurs can streamline collaborations to facilitate the formation of new companies and jobs,” said Mitchell.

"The Carolina Express License Agreement maintains universities' intellectual property rights while recognizing that technologies, innovations and IP are only a tiny fraction of what is required to create a company," said co-author Joseph M. DeSimone, chancellor's eminent professor of chemistry at UNC and one of the architects of the Express License.

Category:  Technology Transfer 

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