Auctions Speed Up Tech Commercialization

Auctions Speed Up Tech Commercialization
Source: China Daily

The Chinese Academy of Sciences has been selling a portfolio of 932 patents via online and in-person auctions since mid-March in the coastal provinces of Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang as well as the cities of Shanghai, Fuzhou and Shenzhen.

It is the first time that CAS has held a series of patent auctions nationwide since its establishment in 1949.

The patents are the research achievements made by 57 research institutes affiliated with CAS. They cover a wide range of scientific fields including healthcare, new materials, modern agriculture, information technology and intelligent manufacturing, many of which are strategic industries with key support from the central government.

Yang Ming, a professor of intellectual property rights at Peking University, said these patents represent cutting-edge technologies and are of great significance to the further development of their respective fields.

Tao Xinliang, head of the School of Intellectual Property Rights at Dalian University of Technology, said commercialization of technological achievements has long been a bottleneck for the market-oriented development of science in China.

The efforts of CAS are a bold attempt to promote the industrialization of scientific achievements, he added.

Sui Xueqing, director of the Intellectual Property Operation and Management Center of CAS, said bidding at auctions has become a new approach to acquire patents in international markets, as it saves the time and costs involved in patent trading compared with traditional bilateral negotiations.

It is also an efficient way to generate productivity by transferring the results of scientific research, Sui added.

A birthplace of China's many important scientific and technological achievements, CAS owned about 36,000 patents by the end of 2016, including 30,000 invention patents and more than 820 foreign patents.

To improve the effectiveness of the auctions, CAS' IP center established a system to evaluate and generate estimated values for the patents on offer, taking their innovativeness, feasibility and market relevance into consideration.

According to An Lili from the IP center, the minimum starting bid for the patents was set at about 100,000 yuan ($16,000).

On March 16, CAS held the first patent auction in Jinan, capital of Shandong province, putting 36 patents up for auction. Within three hours, 28 patents had been sold to 11 companies, with 5.03 million yuan paid in total for the rights.

The province's science and technology department and IP office said they would track each patent's future. Bid winners can receive up to 5 million yuan in support funding based on their performance in turning their new patents into products and services.

The Shandong IP office and the CAS IP center also agreed a cooperation deal during the auction to promote mutual progress.