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Commercialization is the process of taking a technology and translating it into a marketable product, typically through licensing the IP rights to an existing company or to a new company formed by the inventor and/or other interested parties, such as entrepreneurs or investors. Innovation Partners can help you navigate the path to commercialization, partnering with the team at Texas A&M System Technology Commercialization (TTC) where appropriate, and determine the best options for planning next steps toward commercializing your technology.

The commercialization process contains many steps, including but not limited to: determining intellectual property ownership, invention disclosure, invention evaluation, intellectual property protection, technology marketing, technology valuation, and development and maturation of the technology. The two most common mechanisms used for ushering technology to the market are direct licensing and “spin-out” of university startup companies, which typically also involves a license to the newly formed company, but many additional steps as well.

Learn more about Invention Disclosure and IP Protection​.

Download the Innovation Partners Process Flowchart to view steps in our process in more detail, to include the opportunities for inventor and component involvement.

The Commercialization Process


If it is determined that an invention will follow a traditional licensing path to market, the Innovation Partners will work with you to devise a plan for marketing the technology to possible commercial partners. Our office employs a variety of internal and external resources and methods to help market the technology, including but not limited to:

  • Develop Marketing Materials and publish online abstract
  • Engage Existing Industry Partners & Other Industry Contacts
  • Conferences & Events
  • Targeted Marketing Outreach

We believe marketing/prospecting is most effective if inventors/creators work cooperatively with your Licensing Manager to come up with a marketing plan, and then work together to carryout the various tactical aspects of the plan, sharing information and “market feedback” at various points along the way.

Negotiation and Licensing

Once a suitable commercial partner is found, Innovation Partners will negotiate an option or license to the technology. There are three main types of agreements to be aware of when dealing with external parties.

Non-disclosure Agreements:​ An NDA can be a necessary precursor to licensing, and is created between the university and an outside entity (company or individual) to facilitate discussions concerning confidential information related to the university’s intellectual property. Putting this type of agreement in place allows university researchers and Innovation Partners staff to discuss the details of their confidential research with outside parties that may be interested in partnering with the university in some way (e.g. licensing, sponsored research, etc) while still protecting the intellectual property rights on the research.

NDAs concerning university intellectual property are drafted and negotiated by Innovation Partners staff, in partnership with the Texas A&M System Office of General Counsel, and once negotiations are complete, the agreement is routed for approval and execution by Texas A&M System Technology Commercialization (TTC).

NDAs un-related to university-owned intellectual property are handled and executed by Texas A&M Sponsored Research Services and the Texas A&M University Division of Research. Please visit the ​Texas A&M Sponsored Research Services​ website for more information.

License Agreements: A licensing agreement is a contract between the university and a company to grant the company the right to make use of intellectual property owned by the university for commercial purposes, often with the right to sell products, or have sold. In these agreements, the company will negotiate terms and conditions for licensing the intellectual property with an Innovation Partners licensing manager, in partnership with the Texas A&M System Office of General Counsel, and once negotiations are complete, the agreement will be routed for approval by Texas A&M System Technology Commercialization (TTC).

Option Agreements: An option agreement is a contract through which the university grants a party the exclusive right to negotiate with Innovation Partners for a license to the optioned intellectual property during a specified time frame, during which time the company may or may not also have the right to use the technology for internal purposes only, but not the right to sell, or provide to others.

Marketing/Licensing FAQs

New Venture Formation

If it is determined that the best path forward is forming a university spin-off or startup company, the process will typically include the following general steps when a TAMU faculty or staff member is involved.

  • Identify a CEO, entrepreneurial team
  • Entrepreneurial training, as needed
  • Develop the Company’s Business Plan/Pitch Deck
  • Entity Formation (typically as an S-Corp, C-Corp, or LLC)
  • Develop Corporate documents (operating agreement, articles of incorporation, etc.)
  • Site selection/physical space, if needed
  • Develop Conflict of Interest and Commitment Management Plans
  • Secure Board of Regents Approval *
  • Negotiate and Execute an Option or License Agreement

*Board of Regents approval is required for an A&M employee to serve as an employee, officer or member of the governing board of business entities that have agreements with the system relating to the research, development, licensing or exploitation of intellectual property for which they are the creator and in which the system has an ownership interest.

Please refer to our New Ventures page to learn more about this commercialization path, including the process steps and services offered by the university.

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