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les Nouvelles - September 2008


Best Practices For Evaluation And Protection Of IP In DOD Laboratories

Cynthia Gonsalves

Acting Director, Office of Technology Transition, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defence, USA

Michael J. Martin

President, TechTransfer Associate, Inc., Blacksburg, VA USA

Tim Wittig

Founder and Principal, SAIC Technology Management Advisors, Rockville, MD, USA

Sylvia R. Jacobs

Technology Assessment and Applications Mgr., L-3 Services, Inc., Marlton, NJ, USA

Best practices in evaluating and protecting intellectual property (IP) are determined by measuring and comparing the operations of enterprises based on outcomes. The mission of an enterprise drives its organization, its goals, the allocation of its scarce resources, and its definition of successful outcomes. The missions of universities, businesses, and Department of Defense (DOD) laboratories are different; and, so too are successful tech transfer outcomes. These enterprises measure some of the same evaluation and protection activities and have similar tech transfer processes. Each enterprise can learn from the other.

In order to identify the best practices in technology transfer, a questionnaire was mailed to over 80 DOD labs, personnel interviews were conducted with the tech transfer offices at five leading universities and a literature survey of business practices was conducted. Results were compared among the DOD labs and their evaluation and protection processes were compared with the practices at universities and businesses.

It was found that the best practices for maximizing IP disclosure and protection in the DOD include:
• The establishment of rewards for disclosures,
• Conducting patent award ceremonies,
• Establishing and utilizing an invention review board,
• Locating patent attorneys and/or paralegals on-site.

Universities and businesses do some of the above, but they also stress the importance of the support of executive management and the importance of achieving this support. It is critical to demonstrate the value of intellectual property by insuring that technology transfer is an integral component in the strategic plan for the research enterprise.

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