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 and other content), Tangible Research Property (TRP), and outgoing Material Transfer Agreements for biological materials.
Our immediate past executive director, Katharine Ku, talks about our mission and the basics of licensing in a video by Stanford eCorner.