The Process of Negotiation and Management of Deals
To achieve the transfer of a technology and IPR to manufacturers and marketers requires the negotiation of a deal or several deals. Skillful negotiations and deal management are vitally important components in the commercialization of research results. In the case of university projects, these negotiations may also be important for the acquisition of funds for further research. Each Research Commercialization executive will have his or her own style and formula for success. Nevertheless, the following comments may be helpful:
- Specifically target suitable investors or developers. Initially non-proprietary information should be provided, followed by information subject to a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA) and/or Supply of Materials
- Agreement (SMA) and an attractive investment prospectus.
- Know your target’s business. Pitch your presentations to satisfy their likely wants.
- Be flexible and open minded. Arrangements for research and development and commercialization of IPR (e.g., sale, license, license-R&D, joint venture) should satisfy all the parties involved.
- An investor values a project by the financial return it could provide, over a given period, discounted for risk and inflation. There may also be strategic reasons why a project could have appeal and this also should be considered by the Research Commercialization Company.
- To the owner of the IPR, i.e., the Research Commercialization Company, a project’s value is what the market will pay for it. This is an important point, because it means there is no automatic ceiling on the price and negotiations will determine the level.
- Get first class professional advice. I recommend this strongly even though it might be expensive. If this is not done and some technical or commercial problems arise later, the cost of rectifying the situation or lost revenue might be higher.
- Even the best deals hardly ever go smoothly. Formal agreements should be structured to protect the interests of the Research Commercialization Company in case things go wrong.
- Build good relationships between commercial parties and researchers from the start. This should be done as insurance for difficult times in the future.