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CoMotion makes an impact with express digital content licensing

Written by Debra Bouchegnies / April 6, 2018

Left to right: Gail Dykstra, Isabelle Ragueneau-Majlessi, John Wilkerson, Eric Bruns

If someone asked you what type of technologies generate the most revenue on an annual basis for the University of Washington, do you think you would know? Perhaps you would name the many successful startups that spring from the UW’s bustling innovation ecosystem? That would be a good guess, but the answer is actually the technologies on the Express Licensing site at CoMotion!

What types of technologies are a part of the Express Licensing Program? Those that are ready to be taken into the field and used without additional development or marketing activities by companies. CoMotion is a leader in supporting this successful licensing pathway that speeds innovation into the hands of users.

The Express Licensing Program created by CoMotion is a self-service and expedited resource for licensing technologies where the financial terms are published so everyone interested in licensing the technology can see the conditions and fees in advance. CoMotion created the Express License web portal to make licensing smooth and efficient.

UW #1 for licensing

“Express licenses are the workhorse and unsung hero in getting technology out at the UW,” says Gail Dykstra, a Senior Technology Manager who works with CoMotion Express Licensing Program. Case in point: Of roughly three hundred licenses the UW granted in the last year, more than three-quarters of them were for innovations ready to make a direct impact and licensed largely through the Express License portal. “UW is ranked as the # 1 university in the United States for licensing, “Dykstra says. “These types of licenses have been in use for more than fifteen years, and are just one of the ways CoMotion makes innovation readily accessible.”

Impacting Washington and the world

Innovations that are ready to make a direct impact and put to immediate use by licensees come in many forms. These include: software; Software as a Service (SaaS); training materials; and databases that clinical practitioners rely on for information and subscribe to annually. These technologies are impacting Washington and the world in professions that range from early childhood and secondary education training resources to healthcare management tools to language learning texts, just to name a few. But despite the scope and spread of these technologies, few people are aware of their contribution to UW’s innovation impact.

One reason these technologies garner less press and attention is that when we think of University innovation the focus is typically on projects requiring an outside organization to move it into a commercial realm. By design, those technologies outgrow the UW’s walls. But a key difference between express licensing and other licensing, Dykstra says, is that the former stays within the UW. The revenue they bring in, whether through subscriptions or express licensing agreements, stays in the university in a virtuous cycle, supporting the research lab, enhancing the reputation of UW and the research team, as well as supporting further development of the innovation.

Speedy delivery to the market

Researchers benefit still more from express licenses because they get quick delivery of their tool to the market, and continue to retain control over the development and implementation of the intellectual property. On top of that, they can get feedback on their innovation directly from their customers, which can help them further refine their product. “It’s a commitment to sustainability on both sides, and the interaction between researcher and end user can be the most important part,” Dykstra says. “Having the direct relationship with users gives UW researchers insight into the impact of their innovations and often inspiration into ways their product can be made even more useful.”

Here are a few examples drawn from the 65 software and tools currently available through the Express Licensing Program:

(DIDB): First licensed in 2002, DIDB Platform is a knowledge base designed for scientists and clinicians working in the field of drug development, drug disposition, and drug-drug interactions. It is the gold standard for scientists doing pre-clinical and clinical drug development pharmaceutical research. It has over one hundred subscribers, including every major pharmaceutical company worldwide, as well as major drug regulatory bodies in the United States, Japan, and Europe.

“The DIDB team worked early on with CoMotion to develop a subscription program that enabled the group to maintain and further develop its technology while staying at the University,” says Isabelle Ragueneau-Majlessi, the Director of DIDB and a professor in the School of Pharmacy. “As a result, the DIDB platform has been successfully licensed for over sixteen years and is currently used by over one hundred organizations worldwide. The Express License format allowed the licensing agreement to have a single set of terms that were used for a broad range of companies, government agencies, and academic departments. Over time, CoMotion was always very responsive in evaluating new opportunities for the program.”

LegSim: LegSim is a web-based virtual legislature. Rather than being a game, it is a rule-based simulation in which students are the legislators. They study the rules and organize the legislature, craft the policy proposals and decide which will be enacted into law. The process makes politics personal. For instructors, LegSim reduces the startup costs of incorporating a simulation into a course and makes it easy to track student participation and evaluate performance.

“CoMotion worked closely with our developer to build an automated payment process that we then integrated into the student sign-up process,” says John Wilkerson, the professor of political science who developed LegSim. “They also offer needed flexibility when instructors opt to pay for their class—the costs vary depending on the number of students—and when we offer LegSim at no cost to Title I schools (e.g., that cannot afford the license fee). CoMotion has been very responsive when issues have arisen. We are very happy with the system and the high quality of support services.”

Wraparound Evaluation & Research Team (WERT): Developed by Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Eric Bruns, and first licensed in 2007, these three web-based tools help doctors assess the quality of individualized care, planning, and management for children and youth with complex needs so they can better monitor and coordinate social, mental health, medical, and community services.

To learn more about direct impact innovations and Express Licenses, go here.