By Susan Silva
UC Davis is helping developing countries commercialize their research and development by hosting 36 international attorneys, scientists, engineers, university administrators and scientific and intellectual property leaders at a Licensing Academy.
Participants from 21 countries in Latin America, South America, Africa, Asia and the West Indies are attending the program, hosted by the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture, the UCD School of Law and UCD Extension.
The participants form the nucleus of a growing international network of technology managers, sharing experiences and developing strategies for managing technology and promoting licensing and commercialization of research and development in their countries.
Alan Bennett, executive director of PIPRA, has long had a vision for a program that would foster the advance of new technologies in developing countries. Intellectual property faculty from the UCD School of Law — including Peter Lee, Anupam Chander and Madhavi Sunder — teamed with PIPRA through the International Law Programs to create this innovative campus program.
Several faculty from the Office of Research, the Graduate School of Management and UCD InnovationAccess also are participating.
While at UCD, the international visitors are attending workshops on the impact of university technology transfer, globalization, patents, entrepreneurship, marketing of innovative technologies and humanitarian licenses.
“The faculty are wonderful, and the interactions with them are invaluable,” says Magali Maida, a senior intellectual property and contract attorney with the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research in Argentina.
“They are very generous with their knowledge and in sharing their experiences. The diversity of the participants and our sharing has further enriched the experience.”
Sandra Araya, executive director of the Office of Technology Licensing at the University of Concepción in Chile, agrees: “This is a very diverse group of students — a network that I can bring back home and which will be very useful.”
Nizar Khalil Al-Halasah, an engineer at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia Technology Centre in Jordan, concurs. “This is a great opportunity to meet with colleagues from around the world — to share our successes and failures and push forward,” he says. “This will reflect directly on the economics of our countries.”
Nour-eddine Boukharouaa, an engineer in charge of promoting innovation with Moroccan universities, points out the value of the lectures and work groups, which are helping him establish benchmarks he can take back with him to Morocco.
“The topics on infrastructure are particularly relevant for me,” Boukharouaa says. “Learning to negotiate and prepare licensing content is significant as well.”
“Developing countries need not only to learn about licensing and patent laws, but the practicalities of developing a plan and implementing it, of collaborating with industries and building human capacity,” observes Yumiko Hamano, head of the University Initiative Program at the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization.
Hamano is presenting a simulation exercise in commercialization during which participants will explore their options and expand their ability to work with businesses in taking research into the marketplace.
UCD has a long history of research innovation in a range of disciplines. It also has an extensive history of supporting innovation in developing countries through research collaborations and student training.
— Susan Silva is a senior editor with UC Davis Extension, the professional and continuing education provider for UC Davis.