Commercialize your intellectual property

There are two typical paths to commercialization for university developed intellectual property.

  1. Sign a licensing agreement with an established company.
  2. License the technology to a startup company.

K-State Innovation Partners staff take an active approach to marketing technologies to established commercial partners and in assisting in startup company creation when appropriate. Once an appropriate commercialization path has been identified, we will negotiate with the company to find agreeable licensing terms to maximize the opportunities afforded the innovation. Items to keep in mind are as follows.

Licensing agreements

Licensing agreements allow companies to use the invention in exchange for payment of licensing fees, which normally include a license initiation fee, royalties, annual minimums that are creditable to royalties and reimbursement of patent expenses.

When working with startups, some of these fees may be accommodated by the receipt of equity in the new company. Generally, licenses may be exclusive — rights granted to only one company — or nonexclusive — rights granted to multiple companies, and in some cases can be differentiated amongst multiple fields of use if appropriate.

After a license agreement has been completed

  • The licensee will continue to develop the invention for incorporation into their products or services in accordance with the terms of the agreement. These efforts may entail further research, obtaining regulatory approvals, manufacturing, distribution and ultimately selling the product.
  • Throughout the duration of the agreement, Innovation Partners will monitor the company’s performance and ensure that the company is in compliance with the agreed upon terms and conditions, and will facilitate any necessary adjustments or amendments that may need to be made to the license agreement over time to accommodate successful deployment of the technology.
  • Once a license begins to generate royalties, they are distributed to the appropriate university stakeholders in accordance with the Kansas Board of Regents' and associated K-State Intellectual Property Policies. Read appropriate policies.

Technology transfer is a collaborative process

K-State Innovation Partners staff will work closely with the K-State researcher(s) at each step to help meet market needs and optimize the commercial outcome for the invention. Continued input from the inventor and support for commercialization activities significantly increases the possibility of licensing success.

Although not every invention is suited for commercialization, the Innovation Partners staff attempts to add value to each invention that is disclosed. K-State staff will provide feedback on commercial readiness and offer recommendations for further research and development needs if they are deemed appropriate to advance the technology commercially. When opportunities are available, our team will assist in obtaining on- and off-campus research funding or in forming research partnerships with industry and other interested third parties.


The K-State Innovation Partners team stands ready to provide assistance with university tech-based startup opportunities. If you believe your technology has broad market appeal, would be attractive to investment, and you have an interest in helping to advance a new company, the Innovation Partners team can help guide you from founding and funding to managing and scaling.

Contact Ken Williams or Stephanie Pierce to learn more.

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