A new one-stop shop for technology transfer is opening its doors. e-IP, LLC’s TechTransferOnline (www.techtransferonline.com) purports to be "an online marketplace that facilitates the in- and out-licensing, selling and buying of IP. This unique web site provides a central, global database for organizations and individuals to search, list, license, buy, and sell published and non-published IP in a secure setting." The new service is the creation of Christophe Jean-Paul Sevrain, CEO of CJPS Enterprises (described in the literature as a "serial entrepreneur" because of his record of successes). Sevrain developed TechTransferOnline largely because of his own difficulties locating new technologies. Having to search many universities, government tech sites, labs, and even Google Patents, he wanted a one-stop shopping experience for patents, licensable technologies, and confidential IP (think trade secrets), with the ability to set up alerts for future innovations that meet searcher criteria.
Technology transfer enables inventors who do not want to operate a business to monetize their inventions and other intellectual property (IP) by marketing them to companies that do have the means and desire to exploit the technology. In return, the inventor gets a stream of income from royalties for the use of the new technology, invention, or other IP, or he or she gets money from an outright sale. In other cases, the invention is made at a corporation, but it’s not part of the primary product line—it’s a by-product or even a fluke (imagine Ford Motor Company’s R&D department coming up with the Post-it note glue, instead of 3M). The corporation might prefer to sell or license the technology rather than build a new product line and/or enter a different market. Often the research done at government laboratories, universities, land-grant colleges, and nonprofit organizations will generate patentable inventions they want to license or sell.
As Sevrain states it, "As people that have been on both sides of the Intellectual Property spectrum, we understand what real searchers are doing to locate IP and in turn what the holders of IP are doing to get their products out there. It is a differentiator for us because it is very clear that the people that developed the other tools have never tried to search! They are all non-profit university people—that is not the real world of IP searching."
He wants full disclosure with creators able to view the identities of interested buyers who look at each of their innovations online and potential buyers able to "simply ‘click’ on a link" to email the patent holder/innovator or go to their website. And he wants the service to be cheap with a low flexible fee structure, easy to understand, easy to use, fast, and available 24/7.
And what does it cost? "The service is free to the ‘Searchers’ on our site," says Sevrain. And for innovators with the new technology, "We have three Fee Options developed because of the different needs of our innovators; Our clients can choose what fits them: 1) Pay a flat fee only when the IP is licensed or sold; 2) Pay a monthly subscription fee per IP; or 3) Pay a monthly subscription fee for an unlimited number of IP."
Details for the three fee options which listers can choose are as follows:
- A flat selling fee of $5,000 when the IP is licensed—This option provides a place on the website to see who viewed the lister’s IP, and who signed the NDA (nondisclosure agreement), if the lister requested one; free automated periodic synchronizing with the lister’s website; and no monthly fees.
- $995.00 per month for an unlimited number of IP listings (or $9,950.00 for the year)—This option provides a place on the website for listers to see who viewed their IP, and who signed the NDA, if requested; free automated periodic synchronizing with your website; and no selling fees.
- $9.95 per IP listing per month (or $99.50 for the year)—This option offers no selling fees.
Sevrain points out that, "Our business process, features and software are patent pending. Unlike other models, searching on our site is free to the searcher. Within the first three months, we have listed thousands of available IP and are one of the largest listers in the world, which makes it appealing to the searchers. Searchers also LOVE the fact that they can ‘save’ their keywords search, and they will receive an email each time IP corresponding to their search criteria is listed."
In addition, he points out that, unlike other hot entrants to the marketplace, "[w]e do not serve a niche position, in fact, our service is really complimentary, and provides an overall view of all available technologies, to all different types of innovators including Universities, Corporations, Federal Labs, and Individuals. Because our search feature is intuitive and simply uses keywords, searchers can search for what they know rather than go through a list of categories, clusters, industries or research organizations’ websites. The value added is really as stated on our webpage: ‘Automated Uploading—Two options are offered to further simplify the process of posting your IP using our proprietary software: Any database file, or Automated ‘Spider’ Import [and] Detailed Description—The lister can also attach files to their listing files (Word, PowerPoint, PDF documents, even movies or pictures!) to give more information to the searcher and for the lister to be found more often, since all of these documents are fully searched for keywords.’"
When I asked him to name the three best features of the service, Sevrain listed the following:
- Our proprietary automation process which allows us to gather IP from our clients without their needing to put any of their time or resources toward the transfer to our site;
- The ability of our site to keyword search through all IP as well as attachments that are on the site—greater functionality for the searcher, and greater exposure for the lister;
- The ability of listers on our site to see who has looked at their IP and who has signed confidentiality agreements for their IP and the ability to save searches and get notified when newly posted IP relevant to the search terms is available
The ideal technology transfer service must serve the needs of inventors and their employers who want to get the best price for their innovations, as well as the needs of small businesses and major corporations that need to locate as many new innovations offering the latest competitive advantage they seek, as soon as possible. TechTransferOnline from e-IP, LLC is the latest entrant to the technology transfer field and offers a unique portal to the marketplace of ideas.
(For a look at the competition in this exciting and growing field, keep an eye open for late 2008 issues of Searcher magazine. I plan to do a "Sidebar" column surveying the field.)