What is Technology Transfer?

Technology transfer is a process of transferring intellectual property employing the appropriate legal vehicle from one technology developer organization to another innovation-seeking organization to the effect of attaining scientific and technical progress in a specific industry open to the user. The user of the technology may be in a position to enhance the technology further into new products, processes, materials or services as would upgrade the user’s industrial capabilities. The process would ultimately raise the standard of living in a nation, improve quality of life and hence boost up economic growth. Technology transfer is the bedrock of industrial countries economic success. A highly related matter is commercialization which is the mechanism employed to transform an invention into a valuable application in industry or introducing a new product to the market. Technology transfer embraces an array of official and unofficial cooperation between technology producers and technology users. It is not only confined to the transfer of knowledge and technical know-how but it also includes physical devices and equipment. The means employed to obtain technology transfer encompass licensing, information dissemination, technical meetings, joint research, cooperative agreements, cooperative and research development agreements.

The most utilized device to transfer technology is the license contract. A license is a contractual arrangement between the licensor and the licensee by virtue of which the licensor grants the licensee the right to use or develop the technology for a prescribed fee normally termed as a royalty. Licenses fall into three categories, exclusive, partially exclusive and non-excusive. Technology transfer may be defined as the route of moving research into the commercial arena. American universities earn approximately a billion dollars in royalties from science and technology which is thus far only a little bit of the royalties ascribed to gigantic patent licensors such as IBM and Qualcomm. Qualcomm Research and Development (R&D) expenses were $ 252 million in the second fiscal quarter of 2005. The U.S.A has over seven hundred Federal Laboratories which are annually funded at over $24 billions. The U.S.A government finances approximately fifty percent or thereabouts of all R&D in the U.S.A and employs one sixth of U.S.A scientists. The utilization of computers extended from Federal Laboratories to corporate America. The U.S.A government expenditure on R&D surpasses Japan, Germany, France and England collectively. A substantial portion of on-the-shelf government inventions are not yet licensed for commercial operations. On account of the above it is obvious that the process of technology transfer requires a great effort. Opportunities may be on the horizon for developing countries to raise capital if the process of transferring intellectual property proved to be effective.

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