Transferring Technologies and Inventions to the Marketplace: MSU Technologies
Evangelyn Alocilja (on right) with students in the Biosystems Engineering program
You might think of an intellectual property office as an unlikely candidate for stardom.
Shortly after MSU's intellectual property office moved into new East Lansing SmartZone quarters and renamed itself MSU Technologies (MSUT), the magazine Entrepreneur published an article, "The Union of Town and Gown: Best College Towns to Start a Business." Noting that "more universities and cities are linking up in creative entrepreneurial initiatives," Jason Daley wrote:
In economically hard-hit Michigan, there's at least one thing going right: Michigan State University is pulling no punches in an effort to create and incubate new local business ventures...The Lansing Area Economic Partnership is working with MSUbred startups to find resources to keep them in the community. The Prima Civitas Foundation, partly funded by MSU, is working to bring biotech and alternative energy projects to central Michigan. MSU Technologies is a tech transfer office on steroids and—along with MSU Business Connect, which links businesses with local resources—is the anchor tenant in East Lansing's new Technology Innovation Center...This is a community doing everything possible to jumpstart a new entrepreneurial vision for itself, and the university is its key power source.
MSUT's move into East Lansing resulted from a partnership with the City of East Lansing and the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority. The new location was intended to improve service to faculty, encourage closer interaction with companies and investors, and accommodate future growth of the office. MSU's priorities dovetailed nicely with those of East Lansing by promoting a diversified and growing tax base and development of the knowledge-based regional economy.
"MSU Technologies is a tech transfer office on steroids."
Under the leadership of interim executive director Charles A. Hasemann, the MSUT office:
- Manages the university's extensive intellectual property portfolio
- Evaluates the commercial potential of each invention
- Works with MSU researchers on the invention disclosure and technology transfer process
- Protects inventions by filing patent applications
- Markets and licenses commercially viable technologies to large corporations and small-to mid-sized businesses
- Assists with launching start-up companies based around MSU technologies
- Facilitates confidential disclosure and material transfer agreements
In addition to the tailored services provided by MSUT's professional staff, the office maintains a wealth of information about copyrights, patents, licensing, and the commercialization/tech transfer process for authors, researchers, and industry partners: http://www.technologies.msu.edu. There is also a database of technologies available for licensing.