Technology transfer is a broad term that describes the transfer of knowledge and discoveries to the general public. It can occur through publications, educated students entering the workforce, exchanges at conferences, and relationships with industry, among other things. Technology is typically transferred through a licence agreement in which SingHealth grants its rights in the defined technology to a third party for a period of years, often limited to a particular field of use and/or region of the world. The licensee (the third party licensing the technology) may be an established company or a new business start-up. Licences include terms that require the licensee to meet certain performance requirements and to make financial payments to SingHealth. These payments are shared with the inventors, their institution and SingHealth to incentivise the inventors and provide support for further research, education, and participation in the technology transfer process.
Observations and experiments during research activities often lead to inventions. An invention is any useful process, machine, composition of matter (e.g. chemical or biological compounds), or any new or useful improvement of the same. Inventions also may include software, website content and other educational or research content. Often, multiple researchers may have contributed to the invention.
An Invention Disclosure Form remains a confidential document and should fully document your invention so that the options for patenting and commercialisation can be evaluated and pursued.
The period in which you and your SHIP case manager review the Invention Disclosure Form, conduct prior art searches (if applicable) to assess patentability and analyse the market and competitive technologies to determine the invention's commercial potential. This evaluation process, which may lead to a broadening or refinement of the invention, will guide our strategy for protection and marketing to potential licensees.
The process in which protection for an invention is pursued. Patent protection, a common legal protection method, begins with the filing of a patent application with the Singapore Patent Office and/or, when appropriate, foreign patent offices. Once a patent application has been filed, it typically will require several years and tens of thousands of dollars to obtain issued Singaporean and foreign patents (and there is no guarantee of success). Other protection methods include copyright, trademark, trade secrets, and contractual use restrictions (e.g., for databases and materials). Proprietary materials and software can often be licensed without any protection.
With your support, SHIP identifies candidate companies that have the expertise, resources, and business networks to bring the technology to market. This may involve partnering with an existing company or forming a start up. Your active involvement at this stage can dramatically shorten this marketing process.
If an appropriate and interested existing company is selected as a potential licensee, SHIP works with this company to develop the appropriate financial and diligence terms in an eventual licence agreement to fully commercialize the technology. If the creation of a new business start up has been chosen as the optimal commercialisation path, SHIP will work with the start up to license the technology. It is very often the case that there is only one suitable licensee for a technology.
A licence agreement is a contract between SingHealth and a third party in which SingHealth's rights to a technology are licensed, without relinquishing ownership, for financial and other benefits. A licence agreement is used with both an established company or a new start-up. An option agreement is sometimes used to enable a third party to exclusively evaluate the technology for a limited time (usually 6 months to a year) prior to making a decision about licensing.