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CoMotion Q&A: What UW innovators need to know about licensing

Written by Meg Herndon / January 30, 2019

The CoMotion team helps many UW inventors and researchers explore ways to commercialize their products or services — and one key way we do this is through licensing. We recently asked CoMotion’s Senior Manager of Innovation Development, Jennifer McCullar, PhD, a few questions about licensing through CoMotion and how innovators can get started. Here’s what she had to say:

Q: Let’s start with the basics: what does it mean to license through CoMotion?

A: A license is a transfer of rights. Licensing a product means allowing another party to use, modify or sell intellectual property (IP) in exchange for compensation. At CoMotion, we can license patents, copyrights, and trademarks through a number of different licensing models, which we determine based on the inventor’s goals and what is best suited for the product or technology.

Q: Why would an inventor want to license their innovation through CoMotion?

A: CoMotion’s technology licensing staff has among the highest numbers of technology licenses in the country. Our team has navigated hundreds of deals and we’ve worked with many top companies to help our inventors get their technologies out into the world.

Q: Who is eligible to license through CoMotion?

A: In terms of protecting IP, we work with UW faculty, helping our researchers and inventors get their innovations out into the world. Any company can connect with CoMotion to learn more about licensing opportunities.

Q: What should UW faculty or inventors know before coming to CoMotion for licensing?

A: UW innovators should know that determining the best path for commercialization can be a complicated process, so coming to us with their goals in mind is very helpful. A good starting point is determining if they’re looking to generate the most possible revenue, have the broadest dissemination of technology, or both. Knowing who contributed to the IP is also very helpful, particularly if researchers have partnered with people or organizations outside of UW. Having a clear idea of all parties and partners involved will make it much easier to navigate the licensing process.

Q: Can you share some examples of successful companies that have been licensed through CoMotion?

A: Absolutely. One recent success is a concussion-curbing football helmet developed through a collaboration between UW’s Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Neurological Surgery. We licensed the technology to VICIS which now helps football players across America avoid concussions. We also recently helped ParaTheraTech, Inc. sign a global license agreement to advance new therapies for farm animals through Bayer Animal Health.

Q: What should UW inventors or researchers do if they’d like to learn more about licensing through CoMotion?

A: CoMotion’s website page about licensing is a great place to start. UW innovators interested in licensing through CoMotion are always welcome to contact us!