2013 has been a banner year. In his State-of-the-State Address of 9 January, Governor Cuomo mentioned Technology Transfer by name. (Transcript of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2013 State of the State Address, specifically paragraphs 11 & 12). Okay. The Governor actually called our profession “tech-transfer” (twice) but he did explain what we do quite succinctly. He mentioned New York State’s lack of VC funding as one of the gaps we need to fill. In his address, the Governor strongly put forward the idea of “innovation hotspots” that are currently being discussed as an important end-of-the-legislative-term accomplishment that needs to get done in the next week, or so.
On Tuesday, President Obama announced plans to deter unhelpful patent litigation by legislating against non-practicing entities. In the common parlance, these NPEs are known as “patent trolls.” In fact, the White House press release uses the word “troll” no fewer than five times.
Articles have sprung up all over, with catchy titles like “Obama announces action against patent trolls” (World Intellectual Property Review), “Make Patent Trolls Pay in Court” (The New York Times), and “Obama wants to crack down on patent trolls. That’s not enough.” (The Washington Post). We will discuss the issue of non-practicing entries in another post.
For now, it’s simply a relief to have formerly esoteric topics such as patent trolls and, indeed, the entire discipline of technology transfer being openly discussed. Who knows where this will lead? A general and wide-spread understanding and awareness of technology transfer? Maybe even one day the e-mails announcing deals on servers and the telephone calls soliciting employment in the Information Technology Department will stop. But probably not.