Author Archives: Melba Kurman

Managing University Inventions

If the Supreme Court gives universities greater control over the inventions created by their faculty and grad students, the Court should also require universities to publish metrics that shed light into how they are managing their invention portfolios. Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Open Innovation, collaboration, education | 1 Comment
Why People Resist Change

Have you ever lingered in a colleague’s office after a particularly frustrating staff meeting, dissecting your boss’s most recent veto of a potentially beneficial innovative new process or product? Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Management | 8 Comments
Protecting university inventions from whom?

A few months ago, Bernie Knight, General Counsel of the USPTO, stated that in order to ensure optimal ROI on tax-payer-funded university research, the Patent Office would likely come out in support of giving universities stronger ownership rights. Continue reading

Posted in Government, education | 2 Comments
Measuring Performance with the Tech Transfer Health Index

The “tech transfer health index” is a simple but powerful technique to quantify the impact and productivity of the entire long tail curve of technologies in a university’s IP portfolio. Here’s why we should adopt it. Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, education | 5 Comments
University Professors Don

I’ve spent the past week combing thru almost 200 responses to the RFI on improving university commercialization issued last spring by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, collaboration, education | 1 Comment
Introducing the Free Market into University Technology Transfer Services

An effective university technology transfer model should take advantage of lessons learned from the current process, tap into the power of the free market, use today’s internet technologies, and enlist emerging open innovation paradigms. The good news is that drastic change to today’s university tech transfer process may not be necessary. Let’s call this proposed model the “Plan B” approach since it introduces a second, alternative path to invention commercialization that would complement, rather than replace, the work of the university TTO. This proposed model would maintain the core of today’s university tech transfer model, but would take advantage of the power of the free market, capture the long tail of invention licensing, and make use of open innovation licensing paradigms. In the Plan B approach, universities would give their TTO first right of refusal for new inventions, remaining the first step …

Posted in Government, Innovation, education | 5 Comments
Don't Ship the Org Chart

Successfully using small-scale, high risk, high reward pilot programs by Melba Kurman The President of the Windows Division at Microsoft, Steve Sinofsky, is fond of saying “don’t ship the org chart.” What does that mean? It means your product or service (in the software business, a product is completed when it is “shipped” to customers) should reflect your customers’ needs, not your organization’s internal structure and politics. Revenue-dependent organizations such as businesses, intuitively understand this, and if they don’t, they go out of business. It’s not so simple for university business units such as the technology transfer office. On campus, university business units are the campus administrative units that don’t teach or do research. Let’s start with the org chart part. U.S. research universities are split into two major service areas: the teaching and research portion (faculty and students) and the …

Posted in Government, Innovation, collaboration, education | 1 Comment