For Students: Best Practices For Startups

Innovation and the translation of inventions into products that serve the public are deeply ingrained in Yale’s culture and we have benefited greatly from it. Yale is supportive of faculty and students becoming inventors and starting companies – whether or not these companies are based on Yale technology. In addition, Yale is committed to avoiding either perceived or actual conflict of interest issues with respect to startups. When licensing Yale intellectual property to a startup, both Yale and its entrepreneurs have responsibilities to optimize technology transfer and mitigate conflict of interest (COI).

OCR makes licensing decisions based on its professional judgment about how to achieve the best possible benefit to the public, without inappropriate influence from internal or external parties.

To effectively transfer the technology in an unbiased way:

• Startups should not receive or be perceived as receiving preferential treatment.

• If the inventor is at Yale, the inventor’s School Dean and/or the COI Committee will review any actions that present a potential conflict of interest.

• The inventor must disclose any financial interest (consulting fees and/or stock options) in the startup to the COI Committee.

Student inventors must describe:

1) how they will separate and clearly distinguish their on-going activities as students (e.g., thesis research) from work being conducted at the company; and 2) measures that will allow them to avoid all use of Yale facilities and personnel for company purposes (e.g., availability of off-campus office or R&D space and support personnel). Ideally, the separation between Yale and the company will occur contemporaneously to any formal option or license agreement. However, in some cases, a transition period of up to 1 year might be acceptable.

• The  COI Committee must also review and approve any conflict of interest under policies that apply to faculty if Yale faculty are involved with and have a financial interest in the startup company.

• OCR options and licensing agreements may be exclusive or non-exclusive depending on what is most suitable for achieving technology transfer and the best possible benefit to the public.