Illustration communicating ideas and connections

TVSF applications being accepted through July

A man wearing a business suit touches a drawing of an illuminated lightbulb.Applications are being accepted for the University of Dayton-Miami University Technology Validation and Startup Fund (TVSF) on a rolling basis through July 2019.

Funded by a $200,000 grant awarded by the Ohio Third Frontier Commission and $200,000 in matching funds supplied by the two universities, the UD-Miami TVSF supports commercialization of technology developed at either institution. Commercialization can be accomplished either through collaborations with existing Ohio companies or through the creation of new start-ups in the state.

“The TVSF will allow both universities to stimulate more innovation and — more importantly — transfer the knowledge generated at each university to the Ohio community,” says Matt Willenbrink, University of Dayton’s Director of Technology Partnerships.

“This is an important step in furthering president Greg Crawford’s agenda to grow Miami University’s reputation for innovation and commercialization,” says David Taffet, Miami University Executive in Residence for Inclusive Innovation and Commercialization. “The matching funds Miami and Dayton have invested in this program signify the universities’ joint commitment to innovate at the speed of business.”

For more information, including guidelines and instructions for submission, visit the UD-Miami TVSF website. Questions about the program can be directed to Willenbrink, Taffet, or Miami University Associate Provost for Research, Jim Oris.


Ideas image by Geralt via Pixabay. Lightbulb image via Maxpixel, public domain.

Illustration communicating ideas and connections

TVSF now accepting applications

A man wearing a business suit touches a drawing of an illuminated lightbulb.Applications are now being accepted for the University of Dayton-Miami University Technology Validation and Startup Fund (TVSF). Funded by a $200,000 grant awarded by the Ohio Third Frontier Commission and $200,000 in matching funds supplied by the two universities, the UD-Miami TVSF supports commercialization of technology developed at either institution. Commercialization can be accomplished either through collaborations with existing Ohio companies or through the creation of new start-ups in the state.

“The TVSF will allow both universities to stimulate more innovation and — more importantly — transfer the knowledge generated at each university to the Ohio community,” says Matt Willenbrink, University of Dayton’s Director of Technology Partnerships.

“This is an important step in furthering president Greg Crawford’s agenda to grow Miami University’s reputation for innovation and commercialization,” says David Taffet, Miami University Executive in Residence for Inclusive Innovation and Commercialization. “The matching funds Miami and Dayton have invested in this program signify the universities’ joint commitment to innovate at the speed of business.”

For more information, including guidelines and instructions for submission, visit the UD-Miami TVSF website. Questions about the program can be directed to Willenbrink, Taffet, or Miami University Associate Provost for Research, Jim Oris.


Ideas image by Geralt via Pixabay. Lightbulb image via Maxpixel, public domain.

Panelists Candice Matthews, John Leland, Matt Willenbrink, Jim Oris, and Darrin Redus pose behind a table with a Miami University of Ohio Graduate School and Research tablecloth.

Panel discusses future of university and business collaboration

We had a full house for our panel discussion on the future of university and business collaboration, which was held last Thursday in King Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship. Approximately 60 people attended the event, titled “Innovation and Commercialization: Launching a New Era.” Panelists were Darrin Redus, Vice President of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator; Candice Matthews, Co-founder and Executive Director of Hillman Accelerator; John Leland, Vice President for Research at the University of Dayton and Executive Director of the University of Dayton Research Institute; Jim Oris, Associate Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at Miami University; and Matt Willenbrink, Director of Technology Partnerships at the University of Dayton. David M. M. Taffet, Executive in Residence for Inclusive Innovation and Commercialization at Miami University moderated the discussion and Miami University President Greg Crawford delivered welcome remarks. The event was streamed live on Facebook; watch a recording above.


Photo and Facebook Live video by Kelly Bennett, Manager of University Social Media and Marketing Strategy, University Communications and Marketing, Miami University.

 

Photo illustration of the earth inside an illuminated lightbulb.

New inclusive innovation and commercialization initiatives provide opportunities for Miami students, faculty, and staff

Two new initiatives give Miami University students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to help usher in a new era of inclusive innovation and commercialization.

Miami University–AFRL Research Technology Commercialization Accelerator

Members of the Miami community are encouraged to work with technology transfer staff to identify patents or patent applications in the Air Force Research Lab’s (AFRL) open portfolio that match their current interests. These patents could supplement a current line of inquiry or jump start an innovation.

An agreement between Miami and the Wright Brothers Institute of Dayton gives Miami support in reviewing and accessing the Air Force Research Lab’s entire open portfolio of more than 1,000 patents and patent applications. The portfolio reflects the breadth of AFRL research programs.  Technological advances that include innovations in energy storage, healthcare monitoring, and advanced manufacturing go far beyond military sciences.

As a steward of taxpayer dollars, AFRL is committed to transferring technologies with non-defense applications to the commercial sector, where they can benefit everyday Americans.

“Miami University has a wealth of researchers and entrepreneurs with the drive and know-how to mature these technologies and bring them to market,” says David M. M. Taffet, executive-in-residence.  “The Miami University-AFRL Research Technology Commercialization Accelerator is a model for how a university can work at the speed of business.”

Among the ways students will be involved with the AFRL portfolio is through a capstone course in the Farmer School of Business, led by Wayne Speer, an instructor of marketing..

Students, faculty, and staff who are interested in exploring the AFRL open portfolio should contact either Matt Willenbrink or Jim Oris. Willenbrink is director of technology partnerships at the University of Dayton, Miami’s tech transfer partner.  Oris is Miami’s associate provost for research and scholarship.

Miami University–University of Dayton Technology Validation and Start-up Fund

Applications to the Miami University–University of Dayton Technology Validation and Start-up Fund (TVSF) will be accepted beginning this month.

Supported by matching funds from the Ohio Third Frontier program [link], the Miami-UD TVSF represents an innovation because it is a partnership between a public and a private institution and because it spans two regional job markets.

Initial applications will be for Phase 1 or technology validation projects. Ohio Third Frontier defines the objectives for Phase 1 projects as follows:

  • Generate the proof needed to move technology to the point that it is either ready to be licensed by an Ohio start-up company or otherwise deemed unfeasible for commercialization.
  • Perform validation activities such as prototyping, demonstration and assessment of critical failure points in subsequent development, scale-up and commercialization in order to generate this proof, with strong preference for these validation activities being performed by an independent source.

“We would like to see projects that have high commercial potential by enabling product or services that have competitive advantages,” says Willenbrink. “A successful application will clearly detail both the commercial potential and specifically how the funding will move the technology closer to being commercialized.”

The TVSF offers an accelerated path to commercialization because projects that receive Phase 1 funding are better positioned for success in Phase 2, the start-up phase.

“Phase I TVSF projects are managed by the universities and are designed to bring university technology closer to being licensed or spun-out as a startup company. Phase II projects are for companies to further develop Phase I efforts,” says Willenbrink.

Anyone at Miami who thinks they would like to pursue a technological venture is encouraged to contact Willenbrink and Taffet to discuss potential ideas and learn more about the application process.

Both the Miami University–AFRL Research Technology Commercialization Accelerator and Miami University–University of Dayton Technology Validation and Start-up Fund are designed to leverage Miami University resources to benefit the wider community. All Miamians — including those from traditionally underrepresented groups — are encouraged to explore opportunities for sharing their talent, knowledge, and skill through these programs.


Written by Heather Beattey Johnston, Associate Director of Research Communications, Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, Miami University.

Lightbulb image by PIRO4D via Good Free Photos, public domain. The Five Cogs of Innovation image by Jurgen Appelo via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

 

 

A compass sits on a page of financial information.

New faces in Miami’s tech transfer and commercialization community

A slide rule used to calculate flight paths.

Two new members of the Miami University community are helping guide Miami as it charts a course for the future university and business collaboration, with a focus on inclusive innovation. We introduce them here.


David M. M. Taffet

Executive in Residence for Inclusive Innovation and Commercialization, Miami University

David M.M. Taffet has a career spanning law, investment banking, private equity, not-for-profits, turnarounds, buy-outs, management, retail, and real estate.

He worked his way through college and law school and has built his own businesses, meeting the payroll needs of hundreds of employees. He has raised close to half a billion dollars of debt and equity on behalf of his own and others’ ventures. He has evaluated the merits of others’ ventures, turned others’ enterprises around, and worked internationally in varied industries with geographically-dispersed operations.

“I have enjoyed the real-world experience essential to assuming leadership positions not with a sense of entitlement, but rather with a healthy appreciation of the work ethic and personal sacrifice necessary to complete the small things that prove fundamental in accomplishing great things,” Taffet says.

Earlier this year, Taffet was selected as Miami University’s first executive-in-residence in the area of inclusive innovation and commercialization. Taffet’s accomplishments in this position include the following:

  • An agreement between Miami University and the Wright Brothers Institute of Dayton, an entity that assists the U.S. Air Force Research Lab with technology transfer, interactions with the community, workforce development, and innovation. This collaboration created the Miami University-AFRL Research Technology Commercialization Accelerator and gives Miami support in reviewing and accessing the lab’s entire open portfolio of over 1,000 patents and patent applications.
  • A successful joint submission by Miami and the University of Dayton to the Ohio Third Frontier that resulted in $200,000 in state matching funds awarded for the creation of a technology validation and start-up fund (TVSF). The TVSF will invest in advancing technologies at both institutions that can be further developed into products by startups and other young companies in Ohio.
  • An agreement between Miami and the University of Dayton to share technology transfer services. The agreement provides more efficient services in Southwest Ohio by leveraging resources of the University of Dayton to provide support for patent exploration and other areas of development and commercialization for Miami research.

Matt Willenbrink

Director of Technology Partnerships Office, University of Dayton Research Institute

As part of the shared services agreement between Miami and the University of Dayton, Matt Willenbrink is now the point-of-contact for technology transfer at Miami.

For the past decade, Willenbrink has been the director University of Dayton Research Institute’s Technology Partnerships Office, where he negotiates research-related contracts (including license agreements), intellectual property matters and other legal matters. Prior to earning his MBA and JD, Willenbrink worked as a biochemist in industry.

Willenbrink’s office provides the following services to researchers from both the University of Dayton and Miami University:

  • Support in securing industrial sponsorship for research projects;
  • Development of appropriate research agreements with industry to protect institutional intellectual property rights;
  • Handling of intellectual property issues in government and industrial contracts;
  • Commercial development of inventions to generate royalty income from licenses to support the technology commercialization program and university research programs;
  • Support to obtain patents on university inventions and to license university technology to outside companies.

University of Dayton Research Institute’s technology commercialization program has been successful in developing and commercializing inventions such as phase change materials, the RULER and COAT (smart dipstick) technology, Autodamp/Autobeam software, material analysis and testing software (MATE), and advanced polymer materials.


Compass image by freeGraphicToday via Pixabay. Flight computer image by Duke via Wikimedia Commons. Both used under Creative Commons license.

Director Andor Kiss poses by the sign for the Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics (CBFG)

Research facilities provide partnership opportunities

Miami University is well-known for being the top public university for commitment to undergraduate teaching. But our top-notch research facilities may be our best-kept secret. In addition to providing our students with excellent, hands-on training, these facilities also provide research and testing services to external clients and collaborators.

This video provides an overview of what we have to offer potential partners.

A typical 3D printing set-up. Includes a FELIX 3D Printer currently printing, a Macbook running 3D printing software and some example 3D printed objects.

Challenges loom for IP rights in 3D printing

CD with skull and crossbones icon and ‘music’ text.
Just as IP protections for digital music lagged in the early 2000s, IP protections for 3D printing lag today.

My father-in-law, Carl, ran a precision machining business for the better part of 40 years. Although he’s now retired, he still retains an interest in new technologies as part of his relationship with a local college. As my son approaches his 14th birthday later this month, Carl asked me if he had a 3D printer. The answer is no, but his question prompted me to think again about the larger implications of 3D printing and IP rights and how they echo the earlier challenges that arose with digital music and illicit, unlicensed downloads.

Unlicensed downloads posed significant challenges for higher education as the new millennium approached. Institutions found themselves hosting file sharing services such as Napster that often facilitated breaches in copyright law. For the music industry, it wasn’t just the establishment of digital formats and distribution as an industry standard, but also the data transfer speed students enjoyed in their dorm environs that opened the floodgates. As the music industry grappled with how to enforce their artists’ rights, higher education institutions (HEIs) began to face both philosophical and practical consequences as ethical, legal, and bandwidth issues coalesced and landed with a reverberating thud. As (sometimes inadvertent) hosts of peer-to-peer sharing systems, HEIs felt the heat from legislators, who began to approach the intractability of the problem with regulatory compliance rules. But for many of the music industry’s smaller and independent players – who struggled the most with how to preserve and protect their intellectual property rights – it was too little too late.

Federal lawmakers are often well behind the curve when it comes to dealing with unanticipated consequences of new technology paradigms, and many in tech transfer see similar issues looming with new additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology. Low entry costs and existing advanced computer aided design (CAD) software give a tremendous breadth of possibilities for 3D printing IP development. But with that development also comes the possibility of IP infringement.

Additive manufacturing is now an important part of many engineering and advanced manufacturing programs at colleges and universities worldwide. More than 7000 patent applications related to 3D printing have been filed in recent years, including one owned by Miami University. At a 2016 conference hosted by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), USPTO Deputy Director Russ Slifer indicated that patent filings related to 3D printing technology grew 23-fold in a five-year period (USPTO blog).

One key concern surrounds the IP that resides in a basic CAD file. In some circumstances the IP extends beyond a copyright that might exist in the file itself to patent rights attributable to the printed product. Therein lies an interesting distinction: copyright protection can extend to the digital domain, whereas the patent in the generic case relates to the object produced. A digital rendering of a patented medical device has little practical utility, but a digital CAD file of the device might be highly valuable.

US patent law provides remedies against infringers, as well as individuals or entities who induce others to infringe. In the earlier example of digital music files, most people – even those who have no experience creating or producing music – have some understanding of copyright comprising the artist’s intellectual property. How, though, would a typical end-user, especially a non-commercial home user, be aware of patent rights that might exist for a product that can be printed via a downloaded CAD file? Because the current patent rights enforcement regime requires the infringer (or those who induce infringement) to have knowledge of the existence of a patent, this leaves a loophole of sorts in the protections provided to innovators.

A second, and equally important aspect is the IP nature of the printed product itself. A digital CAD file of a three-dimensional figurine from a well-known movie franchise may be copyrighted, but the printed object itself may also be subject to various elements of copyright protection, as well as trademark protection. A large part of the challenge for companies or individuals who hold these IP rights is that the low cost of some of the new additive manufacturing devices could allow end users to bypass elements of the basic business supply chain that have precluded this type of infringement in the past.


Written by Reid Smith, Director of Technology Transfer and Business Partnerships, Miami University.

3D printer photo by Jonathan Juursema via Wikimedia Commons. Music piracy photo by Santeri Viinamäki via Wikimedia Commons. Both used under Creative Commons license.