Tech Transfers: Essential to Innovation

Many companies provide a plethora of innovations. For instance, IBM, Samsung, Microsoft, Intel, and Sony own tens of thousands of patents for their innovations. But did you know that the products these companies sell contain inventions owned by other companies? For instance, Samsung and Google have a cross-license so that they can share innovations to enhance their products and take advantage of the expertise and intellectual property of each company. This helps them avoid unnecessary patent disputes. In the end, it is a win-win for them. However, there are smaller organizations that play a factor in products sold by large companies. These include technology transfer offices.

Educational institutions such as universities and research centers are invaluable to the innovative world. These institutions teach and train students with insurmountable information that they take with them to start careers, provide much-needed skills in the world, advance technology, and create cures, among many other things. While these institutes educate attendees, many of them also provide a place for attendees to develop and create important innovations that make a big difference in the world. As such, many universities have technology transfer offices.

Technology transfer offices patent and copyright discoveries developed in their labs. They then license the intellectual property to businesses that can turn the discoveries into beneficial products. At the beginning of this year, Caltech won a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple and Broadcom for a whopping $1.1 billion. This is just one case of the value technology transfers provide industries.

According to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), its more than 3,000 members from more than 800 universities offer more than 22,000 technologies for licensing. To further highlight their value, check out their contributions in just a little over two decades:

  • Contributed $1.7 trillion to U.S. gross industrial output.
  • Contributed $865 billion to gross domestic output.
  • Supported 5.9 million jobs.
  • Disclosed more than 420,000 inventions.
  • Received more than 100,000 issued patents.
  • Formed more than 13,000 startups.

Technology transfers in some instances can be invaluable to our society and the world over. If you have ever questioned or wondered about the role of technology transfer offices, check out all of the work being done through them to tackle the  COVID-19 issue we are currently facing.