Technology Commercialization

Industry Out-Licensing

A key mission of the UC San Diego Office of Innovation & Commercializtion (OIC) is to promote and facilitate the transfer of UC San Diego innovations for the benefit of the university community and the public. UCSD Tech TransferThe two main paths for the commercialization of university-based technology are: (a) Direct licensing of the technology to an established business, or (b) Company startup formation.  In either of these situations, a license agreement will ultimately be executed between the parties.

When is it most advantageous to license technology to an established company?

Given that a top priority for university professors and graduate students is their pursuit and publication of scientific discoveries, and not the direct commercialization of technology...


Geisel LibraryIt makes sense that the overwhelming majority of UC San Diego-generated intellectual property that is “transferred” is accomplished by way of licensing agreements with established companies.

For an overview of the technology invention and intellectual property protection process, including guidance on prior art searching, see this comprehensive Patents & Copyright Tutorial.

Licensing UC San Diego patents
A license agreement grants the right to “make, use, sell, offer for sale, or import licensed products and to practice licensed methods within a specified field of application and geographical location, during a limited term defined by the agreement”. The grant is given in exchange for license fees, royalties, sponsored research, or other form of compensation.

Most licensees are established companies that have mature product development organizations and existing market positions in the relevant field of technology application. img_main_hpTheoretically, this translates to the least risky and most expeditious route to payback for the public investment in university research. And, UC San Diego inventors share in the royalties that are generated when such agreements lead to commercialization and product revenues. Visit this site within the OIC for general guidance on UCSD licensing policies and procedures, as well as information on the distribution of patent royalties.

To view examples of typical UC San Diego agreements regarding Confidential Disclosure, Technology Evaluations, Letters of Intent, and Licensing Agreements go to Sample Agreements. Visit this site to review an outline of the UC San Diego Express License agreement.

Industry-Sponsored Research
Technology-based companies typically follow closely the published academic research that is aligned with their field of interest. Often, representatives from these companies R&D organizations will establish academic relationships with faculty researchers, and some companies will take the additional step of sponsoring targeted, collaborative research that is complementary to their internal R&D. In exchange for research funding, universities will offer agreements that typically provide companies limited-time options for licensing inventions that may arise from such research.

UC San Diego encourages research collaborations with industry, assuming the nature and ORAscope of the research satisfies basic requirements that are outlined in UC Policies on Industry Agreements. If you are seeking, or are considering research agreements of this nature, you should contact the Office of Contracts and Grants Administration (OCGA), which can assist you in the sponsored research proposal submission and review process.

However academic/industry relationships may be formed, they have a significant impact on university technology transfer...


One nationwide study reported that 60-70% of licensees were companies that had been originally recommended by the university inventor.

About The Proof of Concept Institute, Inc.

The Proof of Concept Institute, Inc. is a California 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation, whose mission is to develop educational materials and programs for research scientists, clinicians, and engineers that will facilitate more efficient transfer of public-funded (university and federal laboratory) technology and intellectual property to the private sector, where products and services can be developed for the common good and to support U.S. global competitiveness.

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UC San Diego Research Affairs
Office of Innovation & Commercialization

Call Us: (858) 534-5815
Email: innovation@ucsd.edu

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