There are four main ways to bring an idea to impact (licensing, starting a company, sponsored research, and fundamental research), but within those four broad categories are an infinite myriad of pathways. Early on in your journey, you’ll want to reach out to the Technology Development business development lead for your field (sometimes called your “case manager”) to begin developing a strategy specific to your objective and life constraints.
Meet with your Case Manager
Schedule a meeting with the appropriate case manager based on the field of your invention. We will use this meeting to develop a strategy for bringing your idea to market. Together we will discuss your objective, assess your idea, and identify other key contacts to help with the assessment and next steps.
In subsequent meetings the Technology Development team will review any materials the PIPrincipal Investigator View Boston University's policy on... provides. The Technology Development team may start the meeting with a brief introduction of Technology Development, our mission, and the services we provide. It is usually helpful if the PI provides a 10-15 minute overview of the technology. The Technology Development team member will then ask questions from our Idea Index aimed at better understanding:
- the problem you are trying to solve,
- the solution (your technology),
- capabilities and resources of the research team,
- stage of development of the technology,
- potential scope of intellectual property rights, and
- commercial potential.
The Idea Index serves as a diagnostic list so that all aspects of the technology are discussed. It will also help us focus in on areas that need more information or action and help tease out which of Technology Development’s services are appropriate at this time. These services include:
- patent analysis and filing
- market research
- identifying translation funding opportunities
- team building
- new venture support
Idea Index Questions
- What is the problem that you are solving?
- What is the solution?
- What is the current state of the art?
- How is your solution better/faster/cheaper (e.g. advantages)?
- What is the Innovator’s success in the field related to this idea?
- What are the Innovator’s established industry relationships?
- What is the current stage of development of this technology?
- What needs to be done to move it forward along that development path to the next few milestones?
- Is there interest and available resources (time, funding, students) to do this?
- How does this approach compare with competing approaches?
- What types of IP protection are available?
- Are domestic and foreign patent rights preserved (e.g. have any public disclosures been made, are any expected)?
- What is the known prior art?
- Are there any known freedom-to-operate issues?
- How difficult is it to detect infringement?
- What would the product be?
- Who is the customer?
- Who is the end user?
- Is this invention a stand-alone platform or one component among many needed?
- What is the pain point? How much does industry need this?
- Market size?
- Potential Licensees?
- Is there a champion at a potential licensee?
- Willingness of industry to license?
- Regulatory hurdles?
- Time to market?
If Technology Development is going to invest time and money into commercialization of a technology then we ask that the research team be committed to meeting certain milestones. Those milestones are meant to de-risk the technology and should correspond with the timing of certain events in the patent process that require additional financial support.
If a project requires patent analysis and/or filing then the Technology Development team member will request that the PI complete a more throughout disclosure, the Technology Disclosure Form.
Implement your Strategy
Inventor and Technology Development staff work together to complete specific actions, such as:
- Technology Development initiates patent filings or research (per strategy)
- Together the applications and markets for the idea are researched (per strategy)
- Together the idea is marketed to specific targets or new venture creation is considered