Tending to Successful Tech Transfer Partnerships



Courtships are delightful. People meet. They get to know about each other. Stories and knowledge are shared, all in the hope that a partnership results in a long-term relationship. And when it does, it is a beautiful thing.


This, for me, is a useful (and simplistic) metaphor for our business of technology transfer and how entities interact. The technology licensing officer (TLO), researcher, and patent attorney collaborate to transform an invention into a patent. From there, the TLO enters the marketplace and “courts” a company to enter into a patent license agreement. And when an agreement is made -- when a partnership begins -- everyone is happy. It is a beautiful thing. But this is only the beginning.


This business partnership may live for many years until the patent expires, but it needs constant attention and support. Like the human parallel, business relationships, especially in the world of technology transfer, demand tending to – tending to administrative needs, project management and financial stewardship – and they often benefit from external support, too. Patent license agreements must be dutifully maintained to ensure happy partnerships.


We know there are a myriad of demands on administrative staff within the technology transfer office; there are rarely enough staff hours available to do all the necessary agreement management tasks to keep the partnership running smoothly. Backlogs occur. Deadlines are missed. Record keeping is spotty. Revenue is impacted. This is where Borman & Company enters the story. We manage these often-overlooked processes. We are expert at executing all phases of the agreement management process.


For business partnerships to flourish, bridging the gaps in administrative, project management, and financial stewardship of technology transfer relationships allows entities to interact in more efficient ways. What we know for sure is that courtships are delightful, but growth and longevity will likely lead to more satisfying relationships in the long run – a much more beautiful thing.


Author: Kevin Barquinero, COO, Borman & Company