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Open Access Maximize Collisions, Minimize FrictionSM: Applying Platform Strategies to Accelerate University Research Commercialization

The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 unleashed universities to own and commercialize inventions arising from federally funded research. By self-reported measures, the results have been dramatic: 100% growth of licensing revenue from 2003 to 2013. However, much of the license royalty revenue growth is the result of a handful of blockbuster inventions originating from a handful of serial academic inventors working in a handful of research universities. The majority of research universities generate less license royalty income than the cost of their technology transfer units.

The power of the platform, a new business model that uses technology to connect people, organizations, and resources in an interactive ecosystem to create value, has led to companies such as Airbnb, Uber, and Alibaba. We applied platform strategies to accelerate the two-sided market of faculty inventors (supply of innovative research and intellectual property (IP)) and industry (demand for innovation) at Boston University from 2010 to present, resulting in significantly accelerated research and IP commercialization. This paper describes how we arrived at the platform strategy, the activities we undertook, and the outcome of this new strategy.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2017

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  • Technology and Innovation, edited and published by the National Academy of Inventors, is a forum for presenting information encompassing the entire field of applied sciences, with a focus on transformative technology and academic innovation. Regular features of T&I include commentaries contributed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in-depth profiles of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors in every issue.

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