Willyam Bradberry /
14 October 2016AfricaMontserrat González-Álvarez

Technology transfer: A smart way of working

Used as a business tool, ‘technological intelligence’ gives companies the key they need to build a strong strategy for using their intellectual property assets inside their business, and buying, selling, licensing and transferring them to the correct player. It is extremely important for a company to make informed business decisions, and technological intelligence can help inform them, allowing the company to build a successful IP portfolio and transfer its intangible assets.

In recent years, the life sciences area has become one of the most important sources of innovation and a global driver of economic growth. Taking into consideration the pharmaceutical industry, many companies have products that will become unprotected due to the expiration of their patents.

In order for their businesses not to decline, pharmaceutical companies have begun taking measures of investing in new research and development (R&D), and filing several patent applications protecting one innovative product. This creates a strong patent portfolio around key inventions, providing the broadest possible protection. Companies also consider cross-licensing opportunities, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), strategic collaborations and joint ventures.


M&A and collaborations have become increasingly important in the life sciences. According to an analysis made by the DTTL Life Sciences and Health Care Industry Group of Thomson Reuters, the total value of M&A in the life sciences industry in 2014 was $351 billion, an increase of 113% over 2013. In the first part of 2015, there were 304 M&A deals around the world, the analysis said, with a value of $221 billion, compared with $62 billion during the same period in 2014.

Among the main reasons for M&A and collaborations are the strengthening of existing products, the replacement or improvement of products for which patent protection has expired or will expire in the near future, the need to research in new areas and/or markets, the need for specialist drugs (eg, ‘orphan’ drugs), the acquisition of new technologies and patent portfolios to help lower costs, and so on.

Considering all the technology transfer happening between companies and that M&A and collaborations have been increasing over the years, more companies are recognising that they need a clear strategy for their (R&D) and business area. This requires monitoring what competitors are doing, what they are protecting, in which field they are focusing their developments, and what information may be useful to acquire.

Using intelligence

There are many definitions of technological intelligence. Taking all these into account, technological intelligence applied to IP can be defined as the search and analysis of patents, and scientific and legal information that can be useful to create a commercial strategy for companies that wish to develop, acquire and/or transfer their technologies.

This information can be a very useful tool for companies’ technology transfer decisions since it can tell a company the following:

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