Fighting tech transfer - and winning

By Ed Silverman

I fought the Law: Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson fought his tech transfer office and lived to tell the story. The computer science professor at the University of Utah was part of a team that, several years ago, developed a software program that was a platform for designing new medical devices. He felt that making the software accessible to other programmers as an open-source program was the best way to develop the technology on a widespread basis, but the university's tech transfer office (TTO) disagreed, citing the potential commercial value in patenting the software.

"The tech transfer office saw inventions as a way to augment the shrinking university budget and [was] overly aggressive in trying to make money," says Johnson. "For us, the better research opportunity was to make it open-source,...

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