Transforming an invention into a successful product is an exciting and challenging process that requires a team approach among inventors, Tech Ventures, and business partners (industry and entrepreneurs). Tech Ventures facilitates the early stages of this process by:
- diligently evaluating, and, where appropriate, patenting inventions with significant commercial potential;
- identifying resources and opportunities, such as sponsored research funding, to further validate and develop commercial applications of an invention; and
- working closely with inventors to market and license inventions to business partners, whether existing companies or new ventures.
Each new invention is assigned to a Licensing Officer, who coordinates all aspects of evaluating, patenting, marketing, and licensing of an invention.
Inventors, their labs, departments, and schools, as well as the university, all share in the proceeds generated from licensing of inventions. For more information on sharing of royalty income, click here to view Columbia’s policy on intellectual property and sharing and distribution of royalty income.
From lab to market, the Technology Transfer process is summarized below:
+ Report an Invention
Inventors are encouraged to contact our office and/or submit an Invention Report Form
as early as possible in the inventive process, preferably before a public disclosure of the idea or invention. The Invention Report Form is designed to gather specific information that will enable evaluation of the invention's patentability and commercial potential.
If you are not sure your discovery or idea rises to the level of an invention, please reach out to your Licensing Officer
for an informal discussion. Your Licensing Officer will be able to quickly evaluate if your early concepts merit submission of an Invention Report Form.
+ Patentability + Commercial Assessment
Each Invention Report we receive is evaluated for commercial potential and patentability. This assessment process is performed by Tech Ventures along with patent counsel and, as necessary, in consultation with external experts retained by Tech Ventures. Factors we consider in evaluating the commercial potential of an invention include: problems solved or unmet needs addressed by the technology, potential applications, envisioned product profile, market size, market landscape, market dynamics, potential competitors, potential partners, and potential challenges to commercialization.
+ Technology Marketing
Successful marketing is often the product of close collaboration between inventors and Tech Ventures. As a starting point, Tech Ventures prepares a non-confidential package of information -- this typically consists of a one-page summary of pertinent details related to the invention, as well as any publicly available documents, such as a scientific publication and published patent application or patent. In addition to posting on various online exchanges, such as iBridge
, we also share these materials with relevant companies and/or investors who are identified through our market research, networking activities, and/or prior business transactions. In many cases, inventors also have relevant connections with industry counterparts and technology entrepreneurs. These contacts are also very helpful points of entry and decision-making, and we encourage you to share these with your Licensing Officer
+ Technology Development
A good idea is just the tip of the iceberg. Before a business partner can commit time, energy, and resources to developing a product from a raw discovery or concept, they will need to see additional scientific/technical evidence, solicit market/customer feedback, and better understand potential challenges (e.g. regulatory) that may be faced during commercialization. At Tech Ventures, we have access to resources and partners that aim to de-risk nascent ideas and help transform these inventions into investment-ready opportunities. The Technology Development process is highly iterative and very much a collaboration between inventors, enabling partners, and Tech Ventures. There are many different models and strategies for Technology Development. Your Licensing Officer
will work with you to explore the most appropriate options.
+ Technology Licensing
Tech Ventures aims to ensure that Columia technology is licensed to capable business partners whose objectives for commercialization of the technology are aligned with the our mission. Based on a variety of market-based factors, we formulate a licensing strategy that we hope will increase the chances of success (i.e. bringing a product to market and ensuring access to the technology). Our strategy ultimately may take the form of a license to an exclusive partner or multiple licensees, with an existing entity or through a newly formed venture. In our license agreements, we strive to maintain a balance between securing a fair and reasonable return for the inventors and the university and ensuring that our licensees have the best possible chance of success in the marketplace.
+ Creation of New Products, Jobs, Revenues
Ultimately, our mission at Tech Ventures is to facilitate the transfer and commercialization of Columbia inventions for the benefit of society on a local, national, and global basis. We invest early in the technology commercialization process to create market incentives for companies, investors, and entrepreneurs to further develop and bring to market Columbia inventions that we hope will be the seeds for new products, companies, jobs, and economic value.