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An Australian specialist in cricket helmets wanted to break into the jockey helmet market, but couldn’t quite perfect the manufacturing process. Attempts to manufacture offshore (China) were plagued with difficulties. However, through a networking association, access to university background IP on material properties made it possible to move forward, not just with manufacturing, but with manufacturing domestically, thus avoiding issues of offshore sourcing, including consistency of materials and consistency of manufacturing process.
Innovative startups can benefit from university background IP, while universities can benefit from bringing this IP to market. It is important for both parties that a robust policy and appropriate licensing agreement is developed to both protect background IP and promote its use in industry.
- Having a policy in place for sharing while protecting background IP can make or break a startup, can encourage innovation and create new products and markets and economic growth.