Modes to protect university research for tech transfer have shifted dramatically

The field of technology transfer from higher education to business and commercial developments once focused strongly on obtaining patents for products developed by university research. Today, there are many commercialization projects that may benefit more from other types of protection, said Chase Kasper, assistant vice president for research, technology transfer and corporate relations, University of Southern Mississippi (USM).

“I would be quick to point out that USM has had a great legacy and continues to be involved with patented innovations largely from the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials,” Kasper said. “Intellectual property, generally speaking, is just not patentable work. Intellectual property can be protected by copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. When you are looking at all these areas combined, there are a lot of intellectual assets that are being created by USM.”

One example is USM’s acquisition of Aqua Green in Stone County that is going to be used by Gulf Coast Research Lab for research such as culturing oyster spawn to restock offshore reefs. Aqua Green is expected to create special materials for aquaculture.

“We will likely have innovations come out of AquaGreen that will be commercialized in the maritime industries, or what we are calling now the ‘Blue Economy’,” Kasper said. “We are likely to develop the knowledge for rearing certain forms of aquaculture like oysters or fin fish native to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. If we are lucky enough, we might be able to identify species with special characteristics that might be desirable for the food sectors. We are doing research on oyster larvae, copepods, blue crabs, speckled trout, and triple tail, which are native to Mississippi Gulf Coast. Some of that research may not necessarily patentable, but could be protected with other forms of intellectual property.”

USM has more than 50 active patents, but also 400 pieces of issued patents, patent applications, trademarks, and copyrights over the past 20-25 years.  READ MORE

By BECKY GILLETTE   Hattiesburg Business Today