What is Technology Transfer?
Technology transfer refers to the process of moving intellectual property from one organization (usually a federal laboratory or a university) to another organization (usually a business) for development into new products and improved manufacturing processes. Patented technologies are transferred via an array of legal mechanisms, including license agreements, Cooperative R&D Agreements (CRADAs), Space Act Agreements, and other cooperative agreements.
The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) was formed to provide a focal point for technology transfer efforts among all of the federal agencies and their associated laboratories. Federally funded research and development often lead to new discoveries, inventions, and other innovations that can be adapted and utilized in many ways by U.S. business and industry. The FLC works to make companies and other organizations aware of these new technology developments and to accelerate their movement out of the laboratory and into the private sector. The goal is greater economic competitiveness for U.S. firms and a higher quality of life for everyone.
What is Technology Commercialization?
Technology commercialization refers to the steps necessary to transform an invention, discovery or novel idea into a new product. Technologies are commercially developed by entrepreneurs or by existing business firms. Existing firms acquire technologies from outside sources, like federal laboratories or universities, through license agreements or other cooperative agreements. The technologies are then further developed and integrated into existing product lines for quality improvements or form the basis for entirely new product lines.
Increasingly, however, new technologies are the basis for the development of entirely new business organizations. This is a more ambitious undertaking and often requires involvement of business incubation facilities, seed and venture capital investment, and a strong support network of experts in management, finance, law, marketing, and technology. Successful commercialization can lead to creation of new companies, new industries, new jobs, and economic growth.