OTL is responsible for managing the intellectual property assets of Stanford University.
Scientific insights and academic breakthroughs draw interest and enthusiasm from the research community when they are presented at a scientific meeting or published in a journal. However, without a company willing to invest in bringing the invention to marketplace, many potential benefits of these breakthroughs are likely to end on the page. At OTL our charter is to help turn scientific progress into tangible products, while returning income to the inventor and to the University to support further research.
OTL receives invention disclosures from Stanford faculty, staff and students. We evaluate these disclosures for their commercial possibilities, and when possible license them to industry. If the inventions are successfully licensed, cash royalties collected by OTL provide funding to the inventors' departments and schools, as well as personal shares for the inventors themselves.
We typically begin the licensing process by reviewing an invention with the inventors to learn about potential applications. We then develop a licensing strategy, consider the technical and market risks, and decide whether to patent the invention. Together with the inventors, we try to find companies that might be interested in the invention and seek a product champion within a company before negotiating a licensing agreement.
Although patentable inventions constitute the majority of OTL's licensing activities, we also handle copyright (software), Tangible Research Property (TRP), and outgoing Material Transfer Agreements for biological materials.
Our executive director, Katharine Ku, talks about our mission and the basics of licensing in a video for the University's Entreprenurial Corner.