Innovation by Surgeon| Volume 143, ISSUE 2, P161-164, February 2008

What makes an idea or discovery marketable—and approaches to maximize success

      In a time of declining margins on the delivery of health care and diminishing federal grant funding for basic research, academic institutions are turning en masse to diversification efforts as a means to sustain financial resources. A primary focus of diversification, and one found at nearly all academic institutions, is technology transfer. Although called by many names, technology transfer is the process of moving the intellectual capital of an institution, whether new medical devices, new drugs, or the expertise of its faculty, into the public sector, altruistically for the benefit of patients and realistically, for the financial benefit of investors, the academic institution, and often the physician-inventor. The financial return to academia from technology transfer activities is significant. In 2005, the most recent year for which full data are available, technology transfer offices in the United States signed nearly 5000 new licenses and generated nearly $1.5 billion dollars through the commercialization of intellectual property
      Since its inception, Mayo's Office of Intellectual Property has received more than $210 million in gross licensing revenue and signed over 1,000 technology licenses.

      The Association of University Technology Managers. Available online at Accessed June 2007.

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      1. The Association of University Technology Managers. Available online at Accessed June 2007.