UCT Innovation by Numbers - 2017
The total income from IP commercialisation was R 3.78m and a total of 4 new UCT spin-off companies were formed, the highest ever in a year. 41 invention disclosures were received by RC&I and 72 new patent applications were filed at different stages of patenting (up from 67 in 2016) and 16 patents were granted.
The total UCT IP Portfolio comprises 152 IP rights, but 27 of these cases are regarded as ‘parked’ as they have valid South African patents that have been renewed till term, but that are not able to be actively commercialised (technical or economic issues) and they remain in the portfolio until the patent expires at the end of 20 years.
The active IP Portfolio thus comprises 125 different IP rights that include copyright (software), patents and associated biological materials, trademarks, registered designs and domain names. Just under 25% of the active portfolio is already licensed, whilst 5% and 12% are already earmarked for identified spin-off companies or commercialisation partners respectively. Commercial partners are being sought for 22% (27) IP rights and the remaining 30% (37) are currently under evaluation. The latter group are either new cases whose route to market is being assessed, or technologies that are currently under development (typically seed funded projects) and needing a clear commercialisation strategy developed for them.
The goal is to minimize the “Early – Under Evaluation” and “Seeking a Commercial Partner” segments by developing action plans as soon as possible for the commercialisation and development of each IP right and to actively seek commercial partners. Direct approaches to targeted partners are proving most successful, rather than generic, undirected marketing of UCT technologies via different more “passive” platforms.