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Northwestern partners with leading universities to launch joint Technology Licensing Program

Northwestern University and 14 of the nation’s leading research universities recently teamed together to launch the University Technology Licensing Program LLC (UTLP). The joint effort assembles a portion of each university’s patented research in specific physical science areas into one centralized licensing system to propel marketplace innovation.

“This is an exciting collaboration designed to increase efficiencies; with one transaction, companies can now access bundled technologies from the top research universities," says Alicia Löffler, the executive director of the Innovation and New Ventures Office at Northwestern, one of the UTLP's five founding board members.

Together, the 15 UTLP partner universities spend more than $12 billion annually on research activities, some of which are later licensed to industry or provide the basis for new entrepreneurial ventures. That existing marriage process, however, is littered with inefficiencies that slow the pace of innovation and too often hinder the exploration of synergistic opportunities. 

UTLP addresses this common pain point by making intellectual property more accessible to interested agents. By hosting university-owned inventions in a “one-stop shop,” the UTLP provides private-sector partners convenient and efficient access to a library of diverse patented technologies in defined scientific areas. This helps clear the road to licensing, additional innovation, improvements and potential commercialization.

Although UTLP is starting with licensing efforts in the areas of connectivity, autonomous vehicles and data applications, the collective has plans to expand into other spaces, including electronic fabrication, applied electronics, batteries, photovoltaics and robotics. At present, the 15 member universities hold more than 4,000 patents in these areas, including inventions that have captured prestigious awards as well as research efforts directed by Nobel prize-winning scientists.

“UTLP provides an effective solution to ensure that Northwestern’s innovations reach the public," Löffler says. “It’s an important step toward fulfilling our social contract of improving society and contributing to economic growth.”

In addition to Northwestern, the UTLP includes Brown University, California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, SUNY Binghamton, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Southern California and Yale University. Revenues derived from the licensing program will support the universities’ continued research and innovation activities.

For more information regarding the UTLP joint technology licensing program, please visit the UTLP FAQ page or contact the Innovations and New Ventures Office at invo@northwestern.edu.