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Policy statement concerning technology commercialization from UT Austin President William Powers

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The University of Texas at Austin is one of the nation's leading universities in the development of innovative scientific and engineering technologies. It is crucial that the University play a commensurate role in allowing our faculty to transfer technology to the outside world, and in allowing these technologies to help individuals, businesses, and society.

To maximize the economic and technological impact of UT's research discoveries, I have been working with key System, University, and business leaders to revise UT's commercialization policies. I am pleased to announce that a new set of policies and rules will shortly be in place.

First, the UT System Board of Regents today amended its rules to better enable entrepreneurial activities by faculty, staff, and students. One significant change clarifies ownership of intellectual property when faculty members consult or work outside of their jobs. Under the revised rules, the UT System Board of Regents owns IP developed by faculty while on the job, but each campus may adopt rules to provide that faculty own IP they develop under approved outside employment arrangements, whether or not that activity is in their area of expertise. Our campus will be adopting such rules shortly. Consistent with previous policy, potential conflicts and outside activities must be disclosed and approved in advance and must comply with regular University policies.

Second, we are amending our campus policies to make it easier to commercialize UT-generated technologies. These policies will include the following changes:

  • Shortening the time for UT-Austin to decide whether it will protect or release intellectual property disclosed by inventors to 45 calendar days, unless exceptional circumstances exist that are discussed in advance.
  • Standardizing and making more transparent terms of agreement to facilitate quick, reasonable licensing of UT-Austin intellectual properties to startups, investors, and existing companies.
  • Working closely with University inventors to decide whether releasing technologies to the inventor or protecting the technology will maximize the commercial potential, with the goal of maximizing the benefits to both the University and the State of Texas.

These policies will make it much easier to do business with UT-Austin, both inside and outside our structure, and should result in a higher rate of commercial success. This, in turn, will create more jobs and increase the impact of our research. In the medium and longer term, we are actively working to build a more entrepreneurial culture and also to improve support for faculty and student inventors aspiring to build companies based on their intellectual property.

I am grateful to the Board and to UT System for helping us make these important improvements. I also look forward to working with our faculty and the entrepreneurial community to continue to improve our processes.

William Powers, Jr.

UT Austin President William Powers, Jr.

See changes from previous policy

Read the revised policy