U of M's Richard Brandon talks 'tech transfer' at section meeting

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By Frank Weir

Legal News

As one might suspect, one of the outgrowths of research at an institution such as the University of Michigan, is the ''technology transfer process'' and Associate General Counsel Richard Brandon talked about it at a recent meeting of the WCBA's Intellectual Property Section.

The idea of ''technology transfer'' Brandon noted, is to develop the commercial potential of research done at the U of M.

''What I do is the result of research at the University. We are very fortunate to have a president who gets it, who is a great supporter of technology transfer,'' Brandon said.

''One of the key things we do at the university is research and President Coleman strongly believes research can be a driver for local and regional economies. As a general statement, our tech transfer office's mission is to transfer technologies developed at the university to the market place so as to generate benefits for the university, the community and the general public. We really want people to actually use the discoveries that are found here. ''

Brandon said that one of the goals of the university is to broaden its level of corporate sponsorship of research. The vast majority of funding comes from the federal government which amounted to $800 million last year. Private sponsorship money amounted to $40 million.

''The benefits of university research go far beyond dollars however,'' he said. ''It serves to promote economic development and the creation of businesses as well as providing opportunities for students and for faculty recruitment. And it brings about opportunities for consulting for our faculty and staff.''

Brandon said licensing agreements are a key measurement of the success of the university's tech transfer program and for fiscal year 2011, licensing agreements exceeded 100, at 101, for the first time.

''Our goal is to have 100 or more licensing agreements a year so we can then introduce that technology into the community.''

He noted that in the last five years, he has been working with ''lots of software licenses'' that include apps developed by faculty that are being sold through iTunes. ''There some really interesting things and that is going to be an increasingly more popular thing to do as the market for apps continues to grow.''

He added that licensing software developed by U of M faculty to developers, who can then take the technology and develop it further, means more interesting products for the public.

Much of what Brandon does involves counseling faculty and staff about technology transfer and other intellectual property issues, he said. All patent prosecution is sent to outside law firms.

Published: Mon, Nov 21, 2011

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