The 2021 AUTM Annual Meeting was held virtually from March 15 to March 18. This event hosted the largest gathering of academic technology transfer professionals. Jake Sweeney and Josh Riegle represented ktMINE at the event and have provided their takeaways.
AUTM’s virtual conference room setup was nice – providing an atmosphere of a hotel convention. This setup allowed us to quickly jump in and out of sessions while also accessing the Lounge area during downtime. The AUTM Lounge setup allowed visitors to network, gain insight into the AUTM schedule, and view a welcome video playing on a virtual jumbotron.
We enjoyed connecting with the community via email and the AUTM Connect app. One thing that stood out was how smooth the virtual conference was; the app functioned great, and the downloadable session handouts were extremely helpful. Additionally, having the ability to view the recordings of any missed sessions was a huge bonus. Well done AUTM!
Event Day 1
On Monday, we kicked off the event by attending the session “Navigating the University Innovation Ecosystem Through COVID-19 Disruptions.” This roundtable featured Steve Auerbach (University of Hawai‘i), Jennifer Dyer (University of Southern California), Zach Miles (Oklahoma State University), Travis Woodland (Portland State University), and Stephen Koziol (USPTO) discussing the challenges that COVID-19 had on their specific organization over the past year. There were several common challenges that each organization faced, such as working remotely and the need to consistently collaborate and properly communicate.
After the roundtable concluded, we stopped by the “Leveraging Researcher Directed Initiatives To Drive Improved Commercialization Prospects” session hosted by Mike Cohen (UC Berkeley), Anne Carlson (Oregon Health & Science University), and Andrew Dennis (University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center). Throughout this discussion, they touched on how increasingly, Technology Transfer offices are helping support its institution’s research and innovation efforts.
Event Day 2
Russell Levine, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, gave a presentation on “Top 10 Mistakes Commonly Made When Drafting and Negotiating Patent License Agreements” which was one of the most insightful presentations. Russell listed six or seven unique examples of what seems to be minor contract nuances that turn into major business consequences. A couple of examples Russell touched upon were the failure to distinguish between disclosing license agreements to inside and outside counsel attorneys, along with the failure to address whether licensees can challenge the findings of an audit.
We had the opportunity to see Ellen Ochoa, an American engineer and former astronaut, speak at the virtual AUTM conference this year. One piece of information that stuck out was, much of the technology developed to operate the International Space Station has found application here on earth. For example, she shared with us that “Some rural areas in Mexico are getting clean water based on technology used on the system on ISS that turns wastewater into drinking water.”
Event Day 3 & 4
The last couple of days attending AUTM’s Annual Meeting were spent connecting with attendees – AUTM has some of the friendliest attendees, that is for sure. Attending the AUTM Annual Meeting allowed us to demo ktMINE Applications and Data Services as well as set up more post-conference conversations – which are always exciting for the team.
To close out an amazing few days, we attended the “Recent Developments in Chinese Technology Transfer” session hosted by John Zhang (International Technology Transfer Network), Dongmin Chen (Peking University), and Alwin Wong (International Strategic Technology Alliance). This fascinating session touched on how in 2016, China started to focus on different ways to motivate inventors and start-ups in their country.
To hear more about our time at the AUTM Annual Meeting or learn more about the Applications and Data Services we offer, please contact us today.