The Collider is widely-known for being Mobile Word Capital‘s tech-transfer flagship. We have previously discussed over the excellence of scientific research in Spain and the need to return this knowledge into society in the form of palpable advancements. That is what The Collider’s tech-transfer is all about: transforming the results of research and development into marketable products and services. Such ambition involves not only supplying the equipment but mainly the methods, strategy and mindset; that is, transferring knowledge and skills.
Although The Collider’s tech-transfer process involves two clear agents – Universities and newly bred companies-, it may apply to any owner/buyer of technology, including individuals and businesses of all sizes. The utmost reason for a business to acquire a new technology is mainly the lack of human or economic force to develop a new system of its own which also implies minimising the risk and maximising their competitive advantage.
Depending on the peculiarities of each case, the technology transfer is led by different methods with more of lesser connection between buyer and supplier. Hereby, we will detail the 4 main types:
This is an agreement under which the owner of an intellectual property (patent, trademark) gives permission to another company to use the technology developed by them, in a certain area during a certain period of time; thus, being exclusive or non-exclusive. Despite the good value of this method, it does require the right expertise to implement the technology in-house. If that’s not the case, the license might be extended with a support contract where the supplier is involved in the process to ensure a smooth and complete transfer.
- JOINT VENTURE
This is an agreement based on a prolonged cooperation among the 2 parties; for example, an international tech producer partnering with a local distributor. By this means, partners split de costs (assets, management, marketing) and share the benefits. The drawback? It is hard to determine the contribution of one or another and consequently, divide the profit justly. Furthermore, the different visions and business philosophy may create tension and misunderstandings.
This is an agreement where the supplier grants not only the intellectual property but also the business model. Acquiring an already-made and proven brand is definitely a safe bet but comes with a clear disadvantage. The buyer has little or no impact on the current and future status of the company, often depending on the supplier for materials and to expand the brand.
- STRATEGIC ALLIANCE
This agreement is usually settled between big corporations to share efforts in the development of a new technology. Each company brings in its particular expertise for a major development, be it a joint production, distribution or promotion service. The nature of the stakeholders already reveals the major challenge, which is aligning two business development teams from compact enterprises.
We hope this post has shed some light to the different options tech transfer entails. As it stands clear, the method chosen will depend widely on the characteristics of the stakeholders and their ambitions. As for The Collider’s case, public institutions and research centres imply a lengthy and particular process, as tech-transfer in research is still pretty novel and under development.