Commercialization overview

This page provides resources for academic entrepreneurs and technology transfer and commercialization officers who are engaged in taking research-based technologies and inventions to market.

This resource contains the following sections:

I. The Commercialization Space: Rankings and benchmarks

II. State of the Art Searches: Science and technology research literature, trade publications and product catalogues

III. Intellectual Property (IP) Valuation: Licensing agreements and royalty rates

IV. Industry Contacts: Networks, events and opportunities

I. The Commercialization Space: Rankings and benchmarks

This section highlights recent reports that provide benchmark statistics and rankings of commercialization activities specific to major research institutions or other aspects of science- and technology-driven innovation.

Patent offices provide annual statistics related to patenting activity. Statistics are often available for specific country of origin and patent classification (type of invention), and sometimes provide a summary of top assignees (patent holders) or emerging clusters, such as green technology.

Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) Annual Reports: The latest report (2019—2020) figures include summary statistics of patent applications filed and granted by province. During the reporting period, 771 patents were granted to applicants in Ontario, accounting for almost half of the 1,985 patents granted across Canada. Other figures include a ranking of the top 10 patent applicants and patentees.

United States Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) Statistics: Statistics include calendar-year summaries organized by:

  • Geographic origin
  • Industry-based product field (NAICS)
  • Inventor
  • Patenting organization
  • Patented technology

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO): publishes statistical reports on worldwide intellectual property (IP) activity:

Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM): AUTM is a membership organization that tracks the technology transfer activities of most large research-intensive institutions in North America. Their Research Reports & Databases section offers benchmarking figures for licensing activity, salary, patent applications and grants, and other transactions. Full reports require purchase at member rates where applicable.

C.D. Howe Institute: As an independent not-for-profit organization that “aims to raise Canadians’ living standards by fostering economically sound public policies,” the C.D. Howe Institute provides research on topics related to academic entrepreneurship and research commercialization, ranging from health policy to energy and natural resources. These recent examples (below) provide useful information around the economic impact of university research; payment and funding models around hospital services; and Ontario’s electricity market:

Funding Canadian Health Care in 2035: Strategic Foresight Scenarios (The Conference Board of Canada, 2015): This report discusses four different funding scenarios for 2035 and how a national health care strategy could be formed for each.

Strengthening Symbiosis: International Business and Innovation (The Conference Board of Canada, 2016): This report discusses the relationship between Canadian and international businesses, and innovation.

Innovation Measurement Metrics and Practices: The Manufacturing Sector (The Conference Board of Canada, 2015): This report focuses on best practices for developing innovation goals and measurement, and challenges that may be faced in doing so, for the manufacturing sector.

Innovation Measurement Metrics and Practices: The Life Sciences and Clean Tech (The Conference Board of Canada, 2015): This report focuses on best practices for developing innovation goals and measurement, and challenges that may be faced in doing so, for the Life Sciences and Clean Tech sectors.

OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard: The Scoreboard provides statistical indicators related to science, technology, innovation and industrial performance in OECD and major non-OECD countries. The report is published every two years.

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II. State of the Art Searches: Science and technology research literature, trade publications and product catalogues

This section provides tips and resources for conducting state of the art searches. The scope of these searches is more comprehensive than patent searches, as it includes relevant non-patent research and market information. For this reason, these searches provide a much more strategic view of emerging trends and opportunities in the broader innovation landscape.

Google Scholar is the best openly accessible cross-disciplinary search option for finding research articles in science and technology, among other fields. Titles and abstracts are often freely available from publisher sites. Research is increasingly available through open access platforms; these titles are indexed through the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Those affiliated with research-intensive institutions can avoid paywalls by connecting the Google Scholar search results to a local library’s full text holdings. Under “Scholar settings,” look for “library link” options.

By default, US patents are included in the results, but this option can be turned off. Another option is to limit the time range to reduce the number of results.

More specialized search tools and full text resources include:

  •, an open-access database of e-prints in physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance and statistics. The database is hosted by the Cornell University Library.
  • ChemSpider, a specialty database that is publicly available from the Royal Society of Chemistry. This database includes chemical structure searching and searches by trade name.

Trade Publications: This site aggregates information on trade magazines and technical documents that offer free subscriptions in niche fields. Sectors include online retail integration, chemical supply chain management, and business and commercial aviation. Many titles require registration (free); either by creating a new account or by using your existing LinkedIn account. Some subscriptions are restricted to industry professionals.

In general, trade magazines are a useful source of potential industry contacts, value chain analysis of particular industry segments, overviews of new products entering the market, and buyer guides that compare features for highly specialized products.

In addition to trade publications, supplier directories and catalogues can be a useful source of product specifications and datasheets, in addition to identifying industry contacts and finding pricing information by requesting quotes.

The sites below are some of the best examples:

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III. Intellectual Property (IP) Valuation: Licensing agreements and royalty rates

When assessing the value of IP assets, comparable licensing agreements and royalty rates are highly useful.

Unfortunately, this information is often difficult to find, even when it is disclosed as part of publicly available corporate filings. The following are some resources and tips on locating industry-specific licensing agreements and royalty rates.

ktMINE: This company, which specializes in IP intelligence, has released recent studies on global royalty rates for broad industry clusters, such as biotechnology, healthcare (pharmaceutical), and semiconductors.

Law Insider (US): A searchable contract database and search engine developed by a licensed attorney and entrepreneur. The database is updated daily using S.E.C. filings. Contracts can be searched or browsed by type using tags (e.g., “license agreement”). You can also subscribe to receive email alerts of new agreements using specific tags. Results are copies of the original agreement, including any deal terms (such as royalty rates) that have been disclosed.

LES Royalty Rates and Deal Terms Survey: LES publishes surveys in three areas: global biopharma; high tech; and chemicals, energy, environmental and materials (CEEM). Executive summaries are available for free, but the full surveys are free only to current members.

SEC EDGAR Full-Text Search: License agreements are included in corporate filings for publicly traded companies, usually appended to the filings as exhibits. For companies traded under the SEC, the advanced search provides full text search of recent filings. Search by company name, industrial classification and key words, such as “royalty rate” and “agreement.” For more tips on full-text searching in the EDGAR database, see their FAQ.

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IV. Industry Contacts: Networks, events and opportunities

Licensing Executives Society (LES) International: The USA & Canada chapter organizes local events.

Twitter is a great way to keep up to date with commercialization and IP news and developments. We recommend the following feeds:
Innovation Ecosystem:  @MaRSInnovation, @OCEInnovation, @Green_Centre, @CCRM_ca,
IP Experts: @IPilogue, @CIPO_Canada, @IPMarket, @uspto, @WIPO, @ipwatch

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