Pounds 300m saving with online patents

January 29, 1999

The world's first internet-based patent auction market was launched this week to bring together the owners of patents - including universities - and companies looking to commercialise research.

Nir Kossovsky, the man behind the Patent and License Exchange and a former associate professor at the University of California Los Angeles, says there is a time log jam in technology transfer, with it taking two to five years for patented research to find a suitable developer.

According to Professor Kossovsky, universities spend on average ten months looking for a suitable buyer, four months agreeing a value, and nine months drawing up contracts.

"At the good end, the process is approximately two years from deciding you want to sell to signing," he says. "With patents having a limited life time, when it takes three to five years to sell the patent, 15 per cent of the value of the patent is being lost."

He suggests the cost to universities globally in terms of opportunities lost could amount to nearly Pounds 300 million a year. The aim is to reduce that time by bringing buyers and sellers together online.

The exchange plans to use a transparent pricing model and to offer transaction insurance.

"At the moment there are no standards in this process," says Kossovsky. "This creates high risk. Universities don't like high risk. Everybody wins in an efficient speedier market."

"Industry developing the technology has increased revenue by selling the product, universities will be collecting the royalties. It will do for patents what the Chicago Board of Trade did for grain in the late 19th century."

He notes that a not too-dissimilar venture, Techex, is already established at Yale University where 100 US universities display their patents and around 300 companies search for technologies to develop.

Details: www.pl-x.com

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