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Posted: May 18, 2011
Protecting nanotechnology research results
(Nanowerk News) Researchers provide guidelines for technology transfer, intellectual property rules and license agreements in the development of nanotechnology projects.
Nanomaterials for energy production and storage, nanoparticles for drug delivery and biosensors for diagnostics… Nanotechnology is an emerging technology with applications in almost all sectors, and it is expected to lead the future of technological development. However, as a relatively new field, the use of research results is still in its early stages and there were no good practices identified, especially from a multidisciplinary perspective (research centers, venture capitalists and experts in intellectual protection).
Models of traditional technology transfer were probably not applicable for the "nano" area. Therefore, it was considered fundamental to carry out a research project in this subject because transfer models are essential for any sector related to R&D in order to market and protect the research results appropriately.
As Intellectual Property Rights can be applied to different stages of the product development, from basic research to commercialisation, the first step was to examine the value chains and the appropriate IP model for the technology transfer for twelve selected case studies from five industries: electronics, energy, life sciences, materials, and water and environment. The Nano2Market partners then conducted a Technology Mapping exercise in order to list the areas of the "nano" innovations. Models and strategies were validated by a panel of experts.
As a result, the project has provided an Intellectual Property Guide for nanotechnology research, which develops guidelines for licensing agreements and consortium and comments and suggestions to manage IP in nanotechnology projects. The guidelines depend on the type of application, level of development of the research, and the size of the organisation (small or large research institutions, or small, medium or large enterprises). The size is important because partners found that smaller organisations employed different strategies because the funds were not available. People are generally more confident working, investing and collaborating with larger institutions or enterprises but the smaller ones must wait until the technology is in a more advanced stage before licensing.
Nano2market has also designed an interactive Toolbox, which provides tools for companies that wish to collaborate on nanotech projects and tools for investors (business angels, venture capitalists and corporate venture capitalists). This instrument offers best practices reports for businesses and useful information on how to place a development in the market thanks to an adequate business plan for entrepreneurs. To access toolbox: http://tools.gate2growth.com/nano2market/.
Coordinated from the Office of International Projects at the University of Alicante (Spain), the project Nano2Market (Best Practices for IPR and Technology Transfer in Nanotechnology development) lasted a year and had a budget of 700.000 euros, financed by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme.