Universities have been challenged with an increasingly demand, concerning its contribution to the economic development, and there is an urgent need to create systems that can transfer their knowledge to the market, as a factor of competitiveness and differentiation.
The growing relation between University and the market is the result of an historical evolution of these institutions, which began with the expansion of education to research and, further, the commercialization of its results. Thus, the University is no longer closed on itself, having abandoned the concept of "Ivory Tower".
This is due not only to the growing recognition of the importance of University research to the Industries’ innovative activities, but also to different structural changes, such as budgetary constraints related with public funding. Thus, these institutions have adopted a more aggressive and "entrepreneurial" attitude, in the search for new sources of funding for their research activities.
Universities watch, therefore, to a growing involvement in activities of knowledge transfer, mainly through: service contracts, licensing and creation of technology-based companies.
To enhance the University-Industry cooperation and to regulate related procedures, to improve the quality of information and associated technologies and to reduce uncertainty in terms of market, it is essential to establish adequate policies of protection, management and commercialization of Intellectual Property (IP) rights.
The creation and implementation of an IP Management System allows the University to promote sustained forms of knowledge transfer, based on its R&D results.
A suitable IP Management aims to ensure proper protection of the knowledge produced throughout the development cycle of research projects, defining the appropriate procedures of analysis, report of research results, documentation, valuation and marketing.
Additionally, it allows the protection of the University as a whole, safeguarding its intellectual capital (technical, project results, improvements in equipment/procedures, etc.) in the establishment of relationships with third parties, through contracts, agreements and IP specific clauses.
The greater the commitment of the University in the management of its intellectual capital and the knowledge of the existing legal measures to ensure their protection, the greater will be its ability to create a solid heritage, thus strengthening its reputation, prestige and market value.