DCU reveals new fast track patents for entrepreneurs – plans to take 1pc of royalties

26 Apr 2013

To coincide with World Intellectual Property Day, Dublin City University (DCU) is embarking on a fast-track DCU Licence Express Scheme to make selected patent innovations available to industry and entrepreneurs. The university’s director of innovation Richard Stokes explained that committing to a 1pc royalty agreement for the university from the start will help take the heat out of patent negotiations.

Stokes, who is also the director of Invent DCU, said the fast-track scheme was developed in response to the Irish Government’s National Intellectual Property Protocol which was published in June 2012 to make it easier for entrepreneurs to access technological innovations.

The Licence Express will offer online exclusive and non-exclusive template licences to companies or entrepreneurs who must propose credible business plans. 

Proposals will be selected by DCU on the basis of potential impact to the Irish economy in terms of jobs or exports. 

Royalties will not be due for a period of four years and there will be no up-front payments due to the university. Ongoing royalties after the initial four years will be at a rate of only 1pc of net sales.

“This initiative is a response to the challenge set by Government in an Innovation Taskforce Report, which recommended that universities need to find ways to make it easier and faster for entrepreneurs to unlock innovation,” Stokes told Siliconrepublic.com.

Stokes said licensing technology is typically cumbersome and difficult.

“We’ve created a simple two-page template. We won’t ask entrepreneurs for advance payments. If there is technology developed at the university that we know has potential we will make it available to the community at large and allow any entrepreneur to submit a business plan and we will cut out all of the usual negotiations and legalities.”

Finding real-world commercial applications for high-level research

He cited the example of inventions like the computer mouse and the microwave – technologies that had been developed for decades before someone spotted a commercial application for them.

“When you’re close to the actual research you don’t always spot the opportunities and resources can be limited – instead of dissipating resources, we decided why not pass on some of our innovations to industry?”

He said the university is constantly in patent negotiations with industry and the decision to fast track the licensing of various technologies developed at the university is a response to the reality that some of the innovation doesn’t have an immediate commercial application.

“The bottom line is that we are asking for a 1pc royalty of selected technologies and if the entrepreneur makes millions we will be delighted for them because it will result in jobs and investment in the local economy. The 1pc royalty up front takes the heat out of the negotiations and shortens the process.

“This is our contribution to the open innovation mindset. We have smart people who want to make a real difference for entrepreneurs who might want to exploit the technologies we invent here,” Stokes said.

Research image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years