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University of Minnesota expands MN-IP program to promote industry partnerships and boost regional economies

January 23, 2014

To promote technology partnerships with U.S. and Minnesota-based companies, improve access to university-developed technology and boost regional economies the University of Minnesota announced today it is expanding the Minnesota Innovation Partnerships (MN-IP) program to provide easy access to already-developed University technologies and solutions.

Initiated in 2011, MN-IP lowers the cost and risk companies face when sponsoring university research. The original version of the program, now called MN-IP Create, streamlines the process of sponsoring research and licensing intellectual property (IP). It establishes industry-friendly terms up front, granting companies an exclusive worldwide license to the resulting IP. To date, MN-IP Create has resulted in 83 partnerships to develop products and services across industries including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The industry partners range from small Minnesota startups to large multinational companies.

As part of the MN-IP program expansion, the university today is introducing MN-IP Try and Buy. Try and Buy was developed to provide companies a low-cost, low-risk method to determine the commercial potential behind existing university-developed technologies. Companies will be able to take available technologies for a "test-run" or use them fee-free (if qualified) to test the viability of the innovation for their company. The new program grants companies a low-cost agreement to analyze technology under pre-negotiated licensing terms for a trial period without incurring any U.S. patent costs until a patent issues, and without paying royalties on the first $1 million in revenue. One of the highlights of the new program is the discount allotted to Minnesota companies which reduces fees for the trial period as well as royalty rates for the license

"When industry collaborates with the university and is allowed access to technology developed by top scientists and inventors with favorable and streamlined processes, it opens a door to significant possibilities for economic growth and an ability to bring more ground-breaking discoveries to market," said Dr. Brian Herman, the university’s vice president for research. "We want our industry partners to know the university is open for business, and we want to make it easy for them to work with us. This unique approach to working with our partners, we hope, will boost our economy and advance research."

The MN-IP program is part of the university’s ongoing efforts to work more effectively with the business community, and the complementary programs within MN-IP are designed to help set the conditions for economic development, including the creation of new products and jobs, and allow industry to access the university’s researchers and facilities.

"Our U of M research agreement has been huge in preparing our company for the future," said Doug Green, president and CEO of American Peat Technology. "We have a true partnership, with ongoing product work in our company pipeline, and we’re well positioned for the future."

"Ecolab has benefited from working with the University of Minnesota in many different ways over the years," said Jeff Montanye, vice president for Technology Partnerships & Development at Ecolab.  "The university's MN-IP program has been a great addition to their portfolio of offerings that promote industry collaboration with the U."

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy recently recognized the program for fostering university-industry partnerships and strengthening the United States’ economic competitiveness. "[MN-IP] and other models ... promise to help foster university-industry partnerships and strengthen America’s economic competitiveness."

To learn more about MN-IP and the available technologies, visit:

MN-IP Create (Sponsor Research)

MN-IP Try and Buy (Test-Drive Research)

  • Grants exclusive worldwide license to the technology resulting from a research project.

 Includes pre-set licensing terms:

  • One-time fee of 10 percent of the sponsored research agreement or $15,000, whichever is greater.
  • Royalties of 1 percent apply only if product sales exceed $20 million per year. 
  • Companies receive a low-risk, low cost trial to the technology, including pre-set licensing terms.
  • A small fixed fee applies for the trial period, with no other costs.
  • No U.S. patent costs due until the patent issues.
  • The first $1 million of product revenue is royalty-free for the licensing company.
  • Minnesota companies receive discounts for the trial period and royalty rate.
  • Companies gain exclusive worldwide license to the technology.  

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