Oh Canada, Attending the LES Annual Meeting

Oh Canada, Attending the LES Annual Meeting

Oct 31, 2012

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Annual Licensing Executives Society (LES) meeting in Toronto, Canada. Aside from enjoying the local fare and nearby sites, I received the rewarding experience of networking with industry, government and university professionals as well as gaining insight on new licensing opportunities and methods.

Licensing 101

On Sunday, October 14, 2012, I attended a review course on Intellectual Property (IP) & Licensing Basics. The course provided a survey of the basics of IP and licensing. It offered the perspectives of both the core business and legal aspects involved in IP and licensing. The topics that were covered in this course were: introduction to IP; basics of IP commercialization and licensing; determining reasonable license fees and royalty; managing risks; and a licensing case study.

The case study was by far the most beneficial and interesting portion of the course because it allowed us to get hands on in the negotiation process. The class was split into a number of smaller groups that were either deemed licensor or licensee. We were given a hypothetical licensing scenario and a first draft license, written from the licensor point of view. I happened to be on the licensor side and worked with a great group of individuals from all sectors of the business realm. We devised a negotiation strategy and began talks with the team we were paired up against. In the end, we ran out of time to come to a final decision but did get to a point where we were making strides in structuring an appropriate license. 

Workshops I Attended

Collaborating with the Government, Industry and Universities

This workshop focused on various sectors with experience in structuring complex partnerships as we sometimes do in our office in order to afford the best research and commercialization outcome. Each speaker discussed his/her personal experiences in creating models for public-private partnerships, and provided insight on their own needs and constraints. My take away from this workshop weighted heavily on the evaluation process that goes with determining when a partnership is and is not appropriate.

Mobile Apps

By far one of the hottest topics right now in many different sectors, this course was one I looked forward to the most. The focus was on how to navigate the market for mobile apps, including how the apps are reviewed and accepted by Apple and approved by Google, and how consumers purchase and download apps. A valuable takeaway from this workshop was a discussion of contract methods and the legal implications to certain kinds of mobile apps, e.g., those that record geolocations. If any faculty, staff, or student reading this blog are interested in developing mobile apps within the University setting please do not hesitate to contact me as our office is in the process of determining the best structure to navigate the murky mobile app channels.

Licensing Trends and Royalty Rates

This workshop presented statistics garnered from investigating tens of thousands of marketing licensing agreements in the pharma, software, consumer products, telecommunications, and chemicals industries. Essentially, it was a review of where we have been as licensing professionals and what can be projected for future licensing trends and royalty rates.

New Approaches to Reinventing The Business of University Research Commercialization

This workshop explored three new models of aggressive commercialization of basic research discoveries that address the needs of the innovation business. Presenters illustrated how they applied their respective hybrid systems.

Branding and Licensing

Branding and trademarks is by far one of my biggest areas of interest, so attending this workshop was a highlight for me because it gave great insight on structuring a license around a brand. For instance, The University of New Hampshire® itself is a brand with associated trademarks and we work hard at protecting this brand identity. The workshop reviewed a wide variety of “360 degree tools” to identify and develop licensing programs to support some of the world’s most successful brands.

Networking

Not only did the LES Meeting offer a wealth of information and review of intellectual property basics, it truly allows and encourages networking. Networking is an extremely important piece of the business side of the licensing and commercialization process that is not readily taught in an academia setting, it is most definitely one of the aspects of professional life one has to live to learn. Building lasting connections can be very important to successful licensing deals in the future, plus it is always enjoyable to meet new people and learn what they do, particular where LES is an international association.

If you have any questions or would like to continue the conversation on any of the topics addressed above please do not hesitate to contact me at timothy.willis@unh.edu.  

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