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“CoMotion Connect” Series: Benefits of licensing UW content to external organizations

Written by Debra Bouchegnies / February 22, 2019

This is the first in our “CoMotion Connect” Series which takes a deeper dive into various topics with University of Washington faculty, researchers and other community members who have worked with CoMotion.

We recently sat down with Stephen Fink, Ed.D., who founded UW’s Center for Educational Leadership (UW CEL), to learn more about this Center and his experience licensing content with CoMotion. Here’s what he had to say.

UW CEL: Fostering Leadership Among Educators

After many years as a school principal and assistant superintendent, Dr. Stephen Fink saw how important it was for teachers and principals to have comprehensive continuing education resources. That’s why, in 2001, he left the school district and went to the University of Washington to start the UW Center for Educational Leadership.

The Center, whose mission is to eliminate educational inequities by creating cultures of rigorous teaching, learning and leading, grew throughout the early 2000s. It provided important professional learning opportunities for school leaders and created vital materials for helping teachers improve their craft — but Dr. Fink wanted the Center’s impact to reach further. That’s when he came to CoMotion.

“We started developing specific content that we wanted to protect through copyright or trademark and license out the IP to other entities,” he said. “CoMotion, then the Center for Commercialization (C4C), occupied a unique space in the University for doing that.”

From License to Impact

Through working with CoMotion, Dr. Fink was able to license this content to a number of entities. During this process, he formed relationships with educational organizations around the country while CoMotion managed the legal aspects of licensing this content. Now, UW CEL’s materials are licensed to a number of partners, ranging from the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals to San Diego’s County Office of Education. This has enabled the Center to greatly expand its reach and impact.

“We’ve made a big impact on the learning of educational leaders over the years,” Dr. Fink says. “License agreements we’ve entered into have helped us reach deeper and broader audiences, extending our impact and influence — and the learning is as strong when it’s delivered by our partners as it is when we deliver it.”

Learning About Licensing with CoMotion

CoMotion is a great resource for University researchers who want to license content and materials that are ready to go directly to end-users without going through an external company. This model of technology distribution requires unique university support, such as:

  • Identifying first customers
  • Assisting with resources designing and developing the product
  • Ensuring that feedback from users can be incorporated into products being licensed
  • Strategic outreach for marketing
  • Structuring an agreement that provides the rights needed to the user but protects the base intellectual property
  • Financial management of license revenue

Our organization can guide and support researchers who wish to grow their impact by launching development centers like CEL through all of these activities.