The Department of Industrial Cooperation at UMaine serves as the primary link between the university and commercial interests. UMaine’s rapidly growing research base has fueled over fifty patents and patent applications from the work of faculty, staff and students. DIC works to commercialize these results through collaborative research and licensing of intellectual property to companies. Current licenses, license options and license negotiations include technologies in the areas of energy storage, carbon nanomaterials, composites and composite structures, chemical products, medical devices, sensors, molecular imaging and software.
Inventors disclose new technologies to DIC, where they are evaluated for technical merit, commercial potential, and capacity for patent protection. DIC files patents as appropriate, and identifies potential applications and paths to market for the technology. Inventors’ contacts and existing licensees are often the best places to start. Other options include startup companies and targeted marketing to existing companies. License terms vary by technology, but generally include license issue fees, running royalties, minimum royalties and performance milestones. A discounted royalty rate is often granted for products produced in Maine. License income received by the university is distributed to inventors and departments according to the university policy.
DIC’s role in commercialization extends far beyond patenting and licensing university intellectual property. The Foster Student Innovation Center, the Target Technology Center, and the Innovation Engineering minor and leadership programs are DIC initiatives. DIC contributes actively in economic development, entrepreneurship, and university technology leadership on local, state and national levels.