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Building Trust between Inventors and the Tech Transfer Office at the NIH Dave Lambertson, Ph.D. Senior Licensing and Patenting Manager NIH Office of Technology.

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Presentation on theme: "Building Trust between Inventors and the Tech Transfer Office at the NIH Dave Lambertson, Ph.D. Senior Licensing and Patenting Manager NIH Office of Technology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Building Trust between Inventors and the Tech Transfer Office at the NIH Dave Lambertson, Ph.D. Senior Licensing and Patenting Manager NIH Office of Technology Transfer Telephone: (301) FLC Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting September Gettysburg, PA

2 Technology Transfer Overview An invention with potential is generated in a lab The inventor presents their invention to the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) The TTO evaluates the invention and decides whether to pursue a patent or license for the invention The TTO monitors the invention and updates the inventor regarding the patent and licensing status of their invention

3 Friction Points with the Inventor Identify where tension between the TTO and inventor can arise, and be prepared to respond appropriately Responses to a Negative Initial Evaluation –The TTO doesnt understand the invention or its potential! Responses to a Negative Decision During Prosecution –The patent office doesnt understand the invention! –The patent office doesnt realize the difference between the invention and the prior art! Responses to a Negative Decision During Marketing –The TTO failed to contact the right companies!

4 Building Trust with Inventors Know your role as a Technology Transfer Manager –It is not just patents and licenses –Understand how to reach inventors on a level they can understand –Determine what type of information you need to provide to inventor Know the different types of inventors you may encounter –Determine the tone of your interactions –Determine the complexity of your responses Know how the different types of inventors react at each friction point –Determine what approach you take to reaching the inventor

5 Role of the Tech Transfer Professional Manage Intellectual Property Market and License Inventions Facilitate the Technology Transfer Process for Inventors –Assist them in learning the patenting process How is patenting different from publishing What factors are necessary to reject a patent claim –Assist them in learning the decision process for continuing and discontinuing patent prosecution Factors that increase the chance that prosecution should pursue Factors that decrease the chance that prosecution should cease This is not a random or personal decision; there are metrics involved

6 Types of Inventors Skeptical –Believes the TTO is ineffective, intrusive and a blemish on the good name of scientific research –May actively seek to avoid interaction with the TTO or undermine the technology transfer process Ambivalent –Doesnt mind working with the TTO, but would rather be left alone to do their work Involved –Entrepreneurial and enthusiastic about working with the TTO –Interested in learning the patent and licensing process –Can also be over-involved (e.g., calling everyday for an update on the status of their provisional patent application)

7 Goals for Interacting with Inventors Skeptical or Ambivalent –Convince the inventor that a partnership with the TTO can be productive and beneficial –Get them to see you as a person, not as a bureaucrat or impediment to their research –Establish confidence with them that you are capable and have their best interests in mind Involved –Maintain their involvement and interest in tech transfer by encouraging their participation and answering their questions –Strategically get them to dial it back when they are being overbearing

8 Techniques for Inventor Interactions Make the effort to know your inventor –Contact the inventor directly Try to meet face-to-face at least once, if not every so often If you cant have a face to face meeting, talk via telephone Chance to understand each others personalities –Find a common bond Similar interests or backgrounds; this can even be your interest in the invention Potential to diffuse a tough decision

9 Techniques for Inventor Interactions Make the effort to know your inventors baby –Learn the science behind their invention Opportunity to learn more about the invention Ask questions- it shows that you have an interest in their work –Give them a chance to speak to you about the invention Opportunity to discuss what they are passionate about Attend a lab meeting or local talk given by the inventor Theres no substitute for caring

10 Techniques for Inventor Interactions Good customer service –Respond quickly to inquiries 2 hour rule- every or voic gets some kind of response Response may answer the question, or it may set forth the steps necessary to answer the question and a completion time –Explain things in an appropriate amount of detail If the inventor is inquisitive, spend time explaining in great detail If the inventor is less interested, give them the necessary facts If the inventor is dismissive, implore them that you have their best interests in mind –Shoot straight and speak the truth Right and wrong matters This will build an inventors confidence in you

11 Techniques for Inventor Interactions Be clear and have two-way communication –Get an inventors input prior to an adverse decision –No one wants to feel like they have no say in the fate of their invention –Have a strong and reasoned explanation for any adverse decision Respond appropriately to inventors –Be understanding of the time and effort the inventor has put into their invention –Let them make their arguments and consider it –Be firm and put things in perspective

12 Techniques for Inventor Interactions If that doesnt work, theres always the handy-dandy Voodoo Doll


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