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AUTM Publishes Article on the Danger of Patent-Trolling

In an article published today on its website, the president of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) cites an “abusive patent litigation practice called patent-trolling” that she explains can interfere with the complex process of moving university research discoveries into the marketplace. (The full article, “Lions and Tigers…and Trolls, Oh My!” is available at www.autm.net.)

AUTM President Jane Muir points out, “Universities that license their patented research discoveries are doing so for the purpose of bringing to the market new cures for diseases and products that make the world a better place. They generally put milestones into their license agreements that require the company they’re licensing to demonstrate progress in commercializing, rather than simply aggregating them for litigation against other companies.”

The process of moving new research discoveries and new technologies into the marketplace can be undermined by patent-aggregators, the article explains: “These sophisticated and aggressive firms are collecting patented research discoveries and holding them captive for use in litigation against companies that are actually using new technologies to produce products and services.”

The AUTM article cites the economic impact of moving university research discoveries into the marketplace: “A 2012 study by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) found that tech transfer from academia and other non-profit institutions added more than $385 billion to the U.S.GDP, and created more than three-million jobs and 650 new companies between 1996 and 2010.”

In her comments, Muir, who is also the director of the Florida Innovation Hub at the University of Florida and associate director in the Office of Technology licensing at UF in Gainesville, makes clear that the challenge facing the tech-transfer industry in the U.S. and abroad is much bigger than trolling. “The challenge is to make sure people, especially those creating legislation and allocating resources, have a better understanding of how a well-managed tech-transfer process is not only helping create a healthier, safer world, it is also building a stronger, more diverse economy all over the world,” Muir said.

The article, which was prepared for AUTM by a senior writer for the Blue Waters Group, a communications consultancy with offices in Dallas and Milwaukee, is also available on the firm’s website: www.wegodeep.com

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