In January of 2020, the U.S. Federal Government issued final rules fully implementing the new powers granted to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Effective February 13, 2020, the Committee started to exercise its expanded ability to review the national security implications of more foreign investments – in particular companies with ‘novel or advanced technology’ including biotechnology, artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing, and advanced materials. New mandatory filing rules are now in place, and the Committee’s new enforcement team – charged with finding unfiled cases within CFIUS’s jurisdiction – is now bringing in far more cases than ever before.
Software-based technologies present challenges to the most experienced university technology managers when it comes to licensing. These technologies are often not patentable, released under an open source license, or the software is frequently rewritten – making the original code less valuable. Therefore, faculty frequently don’t disclose software, and companies commonly avoid licensing software IP from the universities.
A discussion on the differences in licensing to startups based out of Israel, China, and the UK by experts who have worked in these regions. David Ai, formerly of City University in Hong Kong, Amir Naiberg, formerly of Yeda Research and Development Co, in Israel, and Teri Willey, formerly of Cambridge Enterprise, will talk about particular variances in license clauses and startup structures that US tech transfer offices may encounter when licensing to entities incorporated in these countries.
Over the past several years, there’s been a proliferation of universities launching internally-driven accelerator programs, with the goal of providing inventors of early stage technologies an opportunity to develop their startup idea within an academic setting. The core concept behind a university accelerator is to offer funding, mentorship, and other resources to startups sometimes too nascent to attract seasoned talent and institutional funding. But such accelerators require large amounts of capital and an experienced team to administer programming, evaluate startups ideas, allocate funding, and provide company-building services amongst other tasks.
Hardware is hard. Large capital requirements, long development timelines, and fickle customers are classic critiques that VCs focus on when evaluating a hardware startup. Yet substantial investments in quantum computing, semiconductors, and additive manufacturing prove that an industry-changing vision with cutting edge technology can overcome investor hesitations about the sector. And while the numbers show that investment dollars into software outpace hardware, the reality is the two keywords no longer separate the industry as many hardware entrepreneurs and investors have learned the benefits of software-enabled “things.” Is the market returning to hardware bets? What do investors want to see in 2018? What are avoidable pitfalls of pitching a hardware story?