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University-based technology transfer has become a significant driver of entrepreneurial activity. The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) estimates that in 2009 U.S. universities generated approximately 600 new companies, 4,300 new licenses, and $2.3 billion of licensing revenues. More than 3,200 start-up companies based on university research are currently active in the United States.

University-specific technology transfer offices (TTOs) manage the commercialization of intellectual property (IP) resulting from university research. Academic researchers disclose innovations to the university's TTO, which determines whether to file for legal protection, usually in the form of patents. TTOs both protect and monetize university IP. Protecting IP usually involves litigation or the threat of litigation against organizations infringing on patents. Commercializing university-owned IP transfers technology from the university to the commercial ...

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