Unlike some universities, Yale does make a special effort to support inventors with a preference to try a startup. OCR and the University recognize the importance of the inventor’s role in helping to transfer technology and in evaluating the ability of a potential licensee to develop licensed products.
Inventors who are interested in starting a company or who have a strong preference for a particular company may be wary of Yale’s efforts in marketing their inventions to other companies. Sometimes inventors worry that their “baby” will be given away to a stranger. However, Yale feels strongly that marketing is one way of being a good steward of the technology and managing institutional conflicts of interest. Also, because of its non-profit status, the University must avoid the appearance of privileged access to its intellectual property (IP).
Marketing mitigates allegations of no bid contracts and allows all interested parties to have an opportunity to learn about new technologies from Yale and to negotiate a license. In a fair and open process, the best licensee can be chosen.
Inventors should cooperate in good faith with OCR’s marketing efforts. Inventors should share information with potential licensees to help them determine if they are interested in investing resources to develop the technology. Inventors often benefit from such interaction by learning more about the commercialization processes and the type of information that a company needs to evaluate a technology. Even if Yale ultimately grants a license to the inventor startup, inventors often get a better sense of the marketplace, or even find potential partners, from Yale marketing the technology.
With a transparent process, the University can be confident that, in the unbiased professional judgment of OCR, the best licensee is developing the technology.