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Noeleen O'Hara by Noeleen O'Hara

Following their success in enabling the dissemination worldwide of the design files for a new breathing aid, UCL Business Ltd (the commercialisation company for UCL) is making the same award-winning express licensing platform available free of charge to the TTO community, to support global efforts in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

By opening up its “COVID-19 e-licensing” storefront in this way, UCLB hopes to enable more Universities to put into practice the objectives of initiatives such as AUTM’s COVID-19 Licensing Guidelines and the COVID-19 Technology Access Framework, which call on TTOs to make COVID-19 relevant technologies available via royalty-free, non-exclusive licences.

The development of the UCL-Ventura (a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) medical device) was a well-publicised collaboration between UCL’s Institute of Healthcare Engineering, University College London Hospitals and Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (Formula 1). The team received hundreds of requests for access to the design files from around the world, so UCL and Mercedes promptly agreed to release the design files free of charge, under a time- and use-restricted licence to manufacturing and healthcare teams.

To facilitate this, UCLB used e-lucid, its proprietary ‘click-through’ licensing platform, already used by a number of TTOs worldwide. A new COVID-19 storefront was designed and launched in just 3 days and at the peak, 2-3 licence requests were received every minute. The project team was able to efficiently and painlessly process these requests in batches of about 100 and within a month of release, over 1700 licences in 105 countries had been approved.

The UCL-Ventura licence dissemination project won UCLB 1st place for “External KE Initiative of the Year” in the 2020 KE Award finals last month.

Whilst not all COVID-19 technologies will be as popular as the UCL-Ventura, the value of using an express licensing platform for non-commercial licences remains highly relevant. Clearly available licensing terms and an easy check-out process allow TTOs to significantly lower the barriers to prospective licensees, whilst capturing customer details in order to review licence eligibility. Additionally, the ability to defer licence approval to the academic team, means that TTOs can share the already minimum administration effort.

UCLB is therefore pleased to offer use of the COVID-19 e-licensing system to TTOs globally, free of charge as part of its contribution to the humanitarian crisis.

We anticipate that, in addition to designs for medical devices, the site could be used to disseminate research tools, software models, datasets, healthcare questionnaires etc. The only requirements are that such technologies are fully developed and ready to be licensed. Licences must be free of licensing fees or royalties but may be limited by time and/or field of use.

For further information please visit www.uclb.com/for-industry/covid-19-elicensing or email Ed Maughfling (e.maughfling@uclb.com)

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