What is technology transfer?

Technology transfer is the process of developing innovations. The process to commercially develop innovations varies widely.

It can involve licensing agreements or setting up joint ventures and partnerships to share both the risks and rewards of bringing new technologies to market. Other corporate vehicles, such as spinouts, are used where the host organisation does not have the necessary resources or skills to develop a new technology.

However, the main aim of technology transfer is to take discoveries and innovations and make them into marketable products so that healthcare organisations and patients can benefit from the research as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In order to successfully develop technology transfer of a product, it must be ensured that the technology underlying the invention is appropriately protected via intellectual property provisions. Protection may be sought through legal rights such as patents, trademarks, design rights and database rights, as well as the non-registerable rights of copyright and know-how.

Working with NHS staff, business managers assess new technology and invention disclosures for their commercial potential, seeking protection of intellectual property wherever possible. This assessment also helps to determine possible routes through which the innovation should be commercialised; for example, through licensing to a third party.