Tech Transfer Office (TTO) Responsibilities:
The TTO is responsible for the protection and commercialization of assigned IP. In this respect, the TTO acts as the business development specialist for the faculty inventors/authors. The TTO is part of the SDSU Research Foundation, reporting to the Associate Executive Director of Research Advancement. The main activities of the TTO are to help faculty disclose new IP; hire and manage patent attorneys to protect IP; develop cooperative research agreements with corporate collaborators/sponsors; source, negotiate and execute license transactions; negotiate and execute Confidentiality Agreements; distribute royalties to stake holders; file notice of invention with sponsoring agencies; and provide guidance on other IP-related issues.
Additionally, the TTO assists faculty in establishing spin-out companies based on licensed IP.
Disclosures are made through an online knowledge management system (Wellspring); in order to file the first disclosure, faculty must contact the TTO to have a username and password created for him/her. The online disclosure system is straightforward in its approach; it asks the inventor/author to answer standard questions about the new IP such as describing the technical attributes, if there are co-inventors/co-authors, federal grant support used to develop the creation, and if there was any institutional support used to develop the IP. Institutional support can be a difficult issue to some projects; we highly encourage inventors/authors to contact the TTO to provide assistance in understanding and reporting this correctly.
Once the disclosure is filed in the system, the TTO reviews the disclosure to ensure it is complete. Additionally, the TTO analyses the disclosure to provide feedback as to patentability, commercial viability, and market need. This review is used by the UCPC during its monthly review of disclosures. Because the committee only meets the first Tuesday of each month, the committee only reviews disclosures completed at least the Tuesday prior to the meeting in order to provide the members sufficient time to review the technology. One committee member is assigned to each disclosure as a technical lead to present the disclosure; providing the rest of the committee the ability to ask relevant questions about the technical feasibility of the invention as well as other aspects about commercialization and appropriateness of assignment to the university. The TTO provides additional resources to the committee, but is not a voting member. Committee members decide on a strategy and course of action for each disclosure which is recommended to the VP of Research for ultimate decision and acceptance of the assignment.
The acceptance of the assignment is sent to the TTO for further processing. The inventors/authors are asked to execute an assignment agreement that includes how royalties are shared amongst the pool of inventors/authors. All must execute the agreement with the same terms for the agreement to be executed by the TTO.