We are working on university patent policies for effective technology transfer. I have described the Eat and Fart model that dominates university patent practice: eat everything, fart a lot, and drop a financial turd once every decade or two to fund the whole crapfest. Declare success.
Now let’s settle down a bit and consider some scenarios to stink things through from a technology transfer practice perspective. In effective technology transfer, one leads with assets that form relationships that then move along (and also form and change) a technology. A technology is not a single thing. It is a “they.” It is a “thing” in its Old Icelandic sense, of a gathering. A technology transfers and reassembles in pieces, bit by bit. As a technology requires skill, or new instruments or machines, or special materials, or new methods, it takes time, effort, and money for these bits to be learned, built, acquired, configured to practice the technology. The transfer takes place effectively when there is a working relationship to do so between those providing access and those wanting access.
Lots of technology that is part of adjacent possibles–things that most anyone can do next once they have gained the capability to do what they are doing–does not require transfer. People can do what they need to do on their own. Transfer relationships then compete for attention–why use a transfer relationship when one can dink around and get there as effectively and with fewer hassles? An effective technology transfer relationship then offers the prospect of acquiring a technology faster, more effectively, than dinking around oneself. Continue reading