Record licensing income for CityU

Connie Ng

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City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has recorded its highest ever income from licensing. The University made some HK$19m for the academic year 2011–12, a threefold increase on 2010–11, due to the outstanding research projects that CityU academics conducted for a range of industries and business.
The largest deal licensed around 30 inventions exclusively to an intellectual property (IP) management company. These patents cover technologies ranging from electronics, coating, nano technology and antenna, to optical fibre and more. The other major deals licensed CityU’s radio frequency identification (RFID) library system and pattern recognition technology to a technology company and a jewelry equipment company, respectively. The income generated will help support future research projects, and reward the inventors and their research units.
Mr Wong Hon-yee, Associate Vice-President (Knowledge Transfer) of CityU, said the record licensing income was the result of high quality research by CityU academics and the University’s emphasis on strengthening knowledge transfer.
The Government of the HKSAR places a great deal of importance on knowledge transfer. It allocates over HK$50 million a year to all government-funded institutions to support such activities. To tie in with the government initiative and as part of the University’s Strategic Plan, CityU actively promotes knowledge transfer as a way of strengthening links between the University and the local community, as well for benefiting the wider society.
The success in technology patents and licensing is attributed to the FEEDS strategy, which was adopted at the launch of the Knowledge Transfer Office’s 5-year Strategic Plan 2010–2015, Mr Wong said. FEEDS stands for firm institutional commitment, education programmes for staff, enhancing IP licensing channels, developing strategic collaboration and partnerships, and spreading out to China.
Moreover, the proactive approach in reaching beyond Hong Kong with the licenses and patents is also a key to the success. Instead of granting the patents and licenses to local companies such as small and medium enterprises, this latest batch of patents and licenses were licensed to overseas license companies. The huge overseas market in technology is believed to provide room for the license and patents to be further developed into advanced technology or readily usable products.  
“The record-breaking licensing income affirms the commercial and application potential of CityU’s innovations. We are delighted that these new inventions and new knowledge can contribute to Hong Kong society and other countries through technology licensing. At the same time, licensing can help realise the full potential of the inventions of our academic staff. We are looking forward to having more innovative discoveries and inventions from our academic staff and we encourage them to contribute to the IP database,” Mr Wong said.
CityU is putting extra effort into nurturing cutting-edge researchers, creating incentives and a supportive policy for encouraging faculty members to carry out innovative research, Mr Wong added. Moreover, the University is adopting measures to enhance technology transfer and nurture a culture of entrepreneurship, such as providing support to the entrepreneurial activities of faculty and students in the application and commercialisation of their research results.


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