Way back in 2003 – when I was still fairly new to technology transfer – I was tasked with creating an educational seminar series that would inform our constituents just what the Office of Technology Transfer was all about.
“How hard could it be?” I thought.
So I sat down to think about it. I determined that any educational seminar worth its salt needed a good, catchy name. Unfortunately, good ideas were in short supply. I racked my brain, but nothing presented itself. Then I thought, “Absent a good name, how about a good acronym?” I identified the users of our services in chronological order: Researchers, Inventors, and Entrepreneurs. R.I.E. Rie? Rye?
But I could rearrange the letters like this: I.R.E.
Thus, the I.R.E. Series was born.
It didn’t take long to decide that the I.R.E. Series didn’t sound inviting at all, but I could call it For Inventors, Researchers, and Entrepreneurs.
The F.I.R.E. Series launched in June of 2003 as a brown bag lunch event. Increasing scheduling conflicts and issues with room availability led to a temporary suspension of the series in late 2004.
The series relaunched in November of 2005 in its present incarnation: a 9:00 AM meeting on the second Thursday of each month between September and June. The Center for Entrepreneurship became a generous sponsor of the F.I.R.E. Series in 2008, lending not only their support, but their enthusiasm and contacts as well. Since that time, attendance has swelled to include members of the Rochester business community.
To date, the F.I.R.E. Series has presented 62 installments on topics as varied as how to maintain a proper laboratory notebook, why Material Transfer Agreements are very important, how to manage a conflict of interest, how to select the right business entity for a start-up company, how the patenting process really works, and the significance of the Supreme Court ruling in KSR v. Teleflex. Our presenters have been some of the preeminent patent attorneys in America, bankers, VCs, and our own in-house experts.
The F.I.R.E. Series resumes this 8 September. See http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/technology-transfer/news/fire.cfm to learn more, or to keep abreast of upcoming events. You can also find a link on that page to join the OTT_FIRE listserv, which sends out monthly announcements about the F.I.R.E. Series, as well as similar events in Upstate New York.
- David Englert