University Technology Transfer: Don’t Overlook-Underestimate Intangible Assets

Michael D. Moberly, Principal, Founder, kpstrat

Most all (applied) university-based research which I am familiar, is premised upon, embedded with, and will likely produce new, additional, and, complimentary forms – contexts – applications of intangible asset, i.e., intellectual, structural, and relationship capital.

These, and other relevant intangible assets, some perhaps yet to fully emerge, but will likely do so overtime, and be distinguished as delivering value, competitive, advantage, and revenue generation capability…

  • most, if not each of those contributing intangible assets (individually, collaboratively, and collectively) will likely materialize as essential underwriters (linchpins to – foundations of) aspired intellectual property,
  • the latter is often a reflection of university-based researchers, scientists, and technology transfer teams preference, presumptive focus and advocacy. 

My experiences in these matters, rather starkly indicate, in far too many R&D circumstances, mission essential intangible assets, will (may) inadvertently, perhaps unwittingly…

  • be over-looked and/or over-shadowed by presumptive (higher ed technology transfer) administrative perspectives which,
  • favorpriority attaches to conventional processes – procedures designed to achieve provisional IP status (initially), followed by application for conventional issuance of IP.

Devoting time + resources to pursuing these traditional – conventional paths, to the possible exclusion of best-practices intended to differentiate, safeguard, and advance mission critical/essential intangible assets in play is seldom, if ever, a good thing.

  • Also, doing that, conveys dismissiveness to the 24/7/365 asymmetric risk realities.
  • Risks to intangibles can, and not infrequently does, materialize and re-materialize @ keystroke speeds, cascades at will throughout a project, to deliver costly and irreversible risk to mission essential intangible assets, particularly, reputation.

So. technology transfer processes + outcomes, i.e., those which are likely to be more sustainable and resilient, are (fiduciarily) obliged to be blessed with operational familiarity with all business things intangible.

Also, technology transfer processes – administration is obliged to be mindful of the economic fact – business operation reality that…

80+/-% of most research (outcome) value, competitiveness, commercialization potential, and revenue generation capability lies in – emerges directly from collaborative intangible assets, ala various forms – contexts – applications of intellectual, structural, and relationship capital.


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