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UCLA Magazine Fall 2003
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Fall 2003
Idea factory
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While tech transfer serves the university, business and society, ultimately it serves the faculty — researchers who may benefit professionally and financially by the commercialization of inventions that are, by law, owned by UC as a state-supported university. This arrangement between the university and its faculty is also mandated by the federal Bayh-Dole Act, which requires that inventions developed with taxpayers’ money must be diligently managed by the university where the research was performed.

The challenge of managing faculty-developed intellectual property is well understood by Neighbour, who earlier in his career was a researcher in the fields of virology and embryology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He then served in private industry and for four years directed the Center of Technology Management at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

Under his leadership, OIPA has grown from five to 17 staff members with expertise in business development as well as intellectual property.

Says Neighbour: “We’ve hired people whose job it is to roam the hallways, talk with faculty, find the inventions and opportunities.”

This includes people like George Abe, an OIPA business-development manager whose passion, based on his background in venture-capital firms and at high-tech firms like Cisco Systems, Inc. and dot-coms, is helping faculty launch their own companies. Abe works out of Boelter Hall at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. “I attend lectures, go to seminars and research reviews,” he says. “If I think something’s interesting, I’ll make a point of sitting down with the professor to get more acquainted with the technology and help them see what they might do with it.”

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