Innovation Celebration spotlights teamwork between science and business

May 5, 2012

Nancy Salem, Sandia National Laboratories

“Bruce McCormick of SAVSU Technologies worked with Sandia on a solar thermal ice-making product. The Santa Fe company plans to deliver life-saving vaccines worldwide in storage containers that use only solar energy to keep temperatures low.”

The Implications of the America Invents Act on Innovation in America

Jerome Gentolia, Venturestab

“Are the patent reforms a step in the right direction, bringing forth a new golden era in American inventions? Or will it curb American innovation, as some sectors believe?

[P]roponents argued that AIA will streamline the patent application process, improve the quality of patents, and give opposing parties in a litigation equal opportunities to be heard. On the other hand, opponents of AIA said that the First-to-File patent regime it will favor big corporations with the manpower and money to keep the patent process moving, and stifle innovation among small enterprises and individuals.”


Research universities’ provost and vice presidents for research will be tasked with sorting out the implications of increased public-private partnerships (P3’s) in general and the American Invents Act that takes effect in 2013.  At least one former university tech transfer veteran, Melba Kurma, argues –

universities will be particularly affected by the new law that changes the U.S. patent system from one of “first to invent” to one of “first to file.”  Unlike corporate inventors, university faculty share their research as part of their jobs and may report their invention to their university months later.  Second, given resource constraints, most U.S. universities file for patents slowly, buying time while they assess the invention’s commercial potential.  

At Harris & Associates, we take into consideration prospective candidates’ experience with and understanding of P3’s as well as the complex issues of intellectual property ownership.  As a result, when retained to assist a university in a search for a vice president for research or a dean of engineering, we look for candidates with both strong academic credentials and expertise in forging and sustaining relationships with commercial enterprises.

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