News | Sep 27, 2018

TechLink starts economic impact study of DoD patent license agreements, industry partnerships

TechLink's research team meets for a weekly teleconference in August 2017 to discuss progress on a national survey for the Department of Defense.

Troy Carter/TechLink

TechLink’s research team started last Thursday on a report for the Pentagon detailing the national economic impacts of patent license agreements and other industry partnerships.

Four TechLink staff are contacting businesses that have previously signed a patent license agreement, cooperative research and development agreement, or other types of agreements from 2000 through 2017, asking for the financial results of their DoD partnerships.

“We’ll be reaching out to around 800 companies and asking a series of questions that will allow us to calculate the impact of licensing and other agreements,” said Jeff Peterson, TechLink’s economic research analyst.

In an official memorandum encouraging participation, Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, director of the Defense Laboratories Office in the Pentagon, explained that TechLink would strictly maintain the confidentiality of all individual company sales and other economic data.

“The information will be combined with data provided by hundreds of companies, and only aggregate information will be reported to DoD by TechLink. Company names will not be included in the study report,” Pamulapati wrote. “Companies that have achieved remarkable success in commercializing DoD lab inventions will be asked if they are interested in being featured in subsequent success story write-ups, to illustrate how DoD technology is having a broad economic impact.”

These results will be evaluated and summarized in collaboration with the Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The information will be used to update TechLink’s 2015 DoD licensing economic impact study, allowing policymakers to assess the value of industry partnerships, identify trends and best practices for working with small and mid-sized companies.

The prior study revealed an economy-wide impact of $48.8 billion in economic output resulting from the license agreements. DoD partnerships supported 182,985 jobs, with an average salary of $71,000, according to the analysis.

The full report, including economic impact analysis specific to the Air Force, Army, Navy, and dozens of different DoD laboratories or research centers, will be available from TechLink in 2019.