Unlike in more traditional technology transfer models, Notre Dame does not license its technologies soon after disclosure. Rather, all of our technologies go through an intense value-adding process called the Commercialization Engine program that de-risks, develops and validates its technologies. Those technologies that successfully emerge from this program are much further along the commercialization process than they were when initially disclosed. Only when a technology is truly ready for the market and the market has validated that it needs that technology do we begin looking for a licensing partner. This entails either matching the technology to an appropriate entrepreneur who will be tasked with forming a startup or licensing it to an existing company.
We place a heavy premium on mutually-beneficial negotiations when it comes to creating licensing agreements. When both parties meet to discuss their business needs, a common theme generally emerges that everyone can agree on. The terms of the license will depend on the market applications the licensee intends to pursue, the size of those markets, their business model, their ability to effectively execute their business model, whether they want exclusive rights or non-exclusive rights, and a number of other factors.
We pride ourselves on being easy to work with and business friendly, even when concessions must be made. After the negotiation conversations have concluded, we create a framework that provides an overview of how the deal will look. Additional documents are then crafted that outline the terms of the agreement including royalties, built-in performance milestones, payment of patent expenses and equity. Once this is agreed to, it is then presented to Notre Dame's Office of General Counsel, which is then tasked with creating the specific legal license while adhering to Notre Dame's best practice of separating legal language from business terms so that the final license is easy to understand.