What is technology transfer?  


echnology transfer is the process of turning ideas into impact. To be more specific, technology transfer is the transition of institutional knowledge to the market in the form of intellectual property (IP). At universities, the goal of technology transfer is to implement technologies and creative works for the public benefit.

The TTO focuses on sharing the products of research to support the San Diego regional economy. 

Technology transfer is a fundamental part of a university's mission to maximize the impact of its research. The TTO serves the faculty and helps commercialize IP created through research at SDSU. 

How did technology transfer start at universities? 

In 1980, the United States Congress enacted the Bayh-Dole Act, which permitted universities to own IP produced through research funded by the federal government. The Bayh-Dole Act also imposed upon universities the duty to commercialize inventions produced through federal research, as well as several other requirements.  

Sometimes, technology transfer involves IP protection such as patent protection for new, novel, and useful inventions, or copyright protection for creative works. The idea is then transferred to the market by granting existing companies permission to the IP in the form of a license or building a startup company around the idea. 

The purpose of the TTO is to commercialize inventions and creative works on behalf of SDSU and the public. Universities and technology transfer offices are increasingly relied upon to support regional economies and foster world-changing innovation. 

When the TTO start commercializing IP at SDSU?

SDSU created the TTO in 1998 in response to demands for support from faculty who saw the opportunity for their research to impact the community beyond the laboratory or classroom.

The TTO only owns inventions created with significant institutional support as determined by the SDSU University Senate Policy. In fiscal year 2018-19, IP commercialized by the TTO generated more than $1 million in royalties.

Inventors and authors receive 50 percent of the net royalties generated by SDSU IP, as generous a share as any university in the country. The remaining royalties are used to support scholarly activities at SDSU, including 25 percent to the inventors' or authors' college. In fiscal year 2018-19, IP commercialized by the SDSU TTO generated more than $1 million in royalties for the faculty and university. 

Learn more about IP and the Path to Commercialization.

In support of its efforts, the TTO also educates faculty, staff, and students about commercialization and intellectual property. Contact the TTO to have it present to your group on campus about commercialization and intellectual property.