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Best Practices for IPR and Technology Transfer in Nanotechnology Developments

Final Report Summary - NANO2MARKET (Best practices for IPR and technology transfer in nanotechnology developments)

Executive summary:

In phase 1, the main tasks are value chain construction, technology mapping and Intellectual property right (IPR) culture analysis of nanotechnology developments. Models developed are then analysed in phase 2, business model discussion. Finally, in phase 3, guidelines and strategies are developed.

Main results from phase 1

Value chain constructions

In constructing the value chains for nanotechnology applications, this project finds that nanoscaled materials (left part of the VC) can be used in different applications and for a certain application various nanomaterials can be used for the same product. Therefore, branching of value chains occurs very often, which means only the first steps or the last steps of the VC are identical.

Technology mapping

Eight industry case studies in nanotechnology applications were identified and examined. The project identified key features concerning each case study, such as:

- market size;
- manufacturing cost projections due to nano applications growth;
- patent and publication trends based on timeline evolution and priority and provenance;
- barriers to industry: cost, efficiency, durability.

IPR culture analysis of nanotechnology developments

The project reviews eight case studies to determine the correlation to the time to market and/or positioning on the value chain. Three major trends in patent portfolio were concluded:

1. Initial phase of technology development:

- Organic photovoltaic (OPV);
- biosample characterisation tools (SPM-SNOM);
- magnetic biosensor;
- nanoparticle medicated drug delivery.

2. Phase of portfolio improvement

- Carbon nanotube (CNT) actuator;
- structural materials.

3. Phase of status quo (waiting out for technological improvement phase)

- environmental remediation;
- field Emission device.

Main results from phase 2

Good technology transfer and IPR strategies of case studies

The project concluded that the level of research and products within the value chain correlates highly to the level and performance of technology transfer and IPR.

Good IP structure for venture capitalist

The project recommended several points for nanotechnology investment by venture capitalists. Since nanotech developments are relatively seen still in their early-stages, it is of extra importance for nanotech start-ups to carefully consider all the elements of the business model when approaching potential investors. A good business model could namely circumvent regulation barriers, or more clearly show the potential market, both very important for successful investor negotiations.

Main results from phase 3

Guidelines for IPR and technology transfer

Based on the data gathered in the previous two phases, the project proposed a set of guidelines on IPR and technology transfer. A publication 'IPR management for nanotechnology best practices' is developed. The approach of the guide is that of enabling researchers to understand their current position first, before adopting any IPR strategies. As such, the guide shows how researchers in different institutions (research or SMEs) may have different IPR and technology transfer considerations.

Main results from phase 4

Dissemination

In the final phase of the project, two types of dissemination activities were undertaken.

Project dissemination seminar

The main dissemination activity was held on 10 June 2010 in Brussels, Belgium. Attendees were invited from the different sectors involved in nanotechnology; research institutions, chambers of commerce, as well as policymakers from the European Commission. Presentations included sharing of project results, as well as expert comments from different nanotechnology players (small research institutions, start-ups, patent attorneys).

General dissemination

Project partners took part in several seminars / conferences to share excerpts of the project result. The project website (see http;//www.nano2market.eu online) features not only information on the project but a link to the interactive toolbox on nanotechnology that was developed to provide investors and researchers with easy and immediate access to information.