Facilitating the Commercialization of University Innovation

This paper examines an innovative new set of practices associated with the commercialization of university research developed and implemented at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Carolina Express License Agreement

Joseph M. DeSimone
Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
William R. Kenan, Jr.
Distinguished Professor of Chemic
al Engineering
North Carolina State University
Lesa Mitchell
Vice President, Advancing Innovation
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Introduction

As the United States recovers from the most severe recession since the 1930s, efforts to boost economic growth assume paramount importance. This means not not only finding ways to spur rapid job creation but also advancing the country's capacity for innovation. One way to do this is to encourage academic research enterprises to facilitate the transfer and spillover of scientific and technological research into commercial application. In particular, the research laboratories of our nation's universities are unparalelled sources of dynamic new spin-off and startup companies. These fledgling enterprises in turn have the potential to become high-growth firms. Recent Kauffman Foundation research demonstrates that top-performing new companies are a fertile source of new jobs.

In the following paper, we examine an innovative new set of practices associated with the commercialization of university research developed and implemented at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. New standard licensing agreements support and expedite firm formation as an outcome of universitybased intellectual property. A committee chaired by one of this paper's authors developed the licensing agreement. The committee included entrepreneurial UNC faculty members with experience in firm birthing, colleagues from the Office of Technology Development (OTD), venture capitalists from the firm Intersouth Partners, and attorneys from a number of firms that have represented UNC startups. The outcome of these discussions produced the Carolina Express License Agreement.