We support our Regional Institutions through offering both operational and strategic support services of technology transfer. Our operational services include case-by-case consultative support throughout the tech transfer value chain, including conducting intellectual property, market and commercial case evaluations for invention or technology disclosures. Afterwards, we offer legal, intellectual property and commercial support to see the inventions or technologies through to successful commercialisation, including drafting and reviewing of transaction specific agreements, as well as compiling business plans for new ventures created.
The strategic role of the KZNROTT includes the creation of partnerships (business and non-business) within triple-helix stakeholders (tertiary institutions, government institutions and industry) in commercialisation of technologies from the Regional Institutions.
Intellectual property analysis is one of the first and most imperative exercises immediately after one strikes it on an innovative technological idea. Along with the initial commercial and market analysis, intellectual property (IP) analysis helps to give one the informed strategy about best means towards realising the potential commercial value of the technology through appropriate monopoly from intellectual property rights protection. For instance, intellectual property analysis may assist in informing an inventor, company or technology entrepreneur whether to realise most value from IP through protection by a patent, design, copyright or a trade secret, amongst other forms of IP. The KZN ROTT supports inventors and companies of its institutions by carrying out IP analysis of existing technologies similar to and competing with the technology proposed for commercialization, and intellectual property analysis relating to organisations competing in the area of the technology. Thereafter, we compile a recommendation for best possible means through which the commercial monopoly could be best retained through protection of intellectual property rights.
Intellectual property protection affords an inventor, company or entrepreneur exclusive rights to several acts of exploiting intellectual property relating to the technology. After conducting an intellectual property analysis and recommending on the form of protection of intellectual property, we support and advise our institutions in liaising with attorneys (with the inclusion of the inventor) regarding IP protection instructions, best IP protection strategy, and any office actions and impending deadlines during protection or prosecution of IP protection.
We support our institutions to comply with general and transaction specific statutory and policy requirements for the effective commercialisation of intellectual property emanating from the institution’s research and development. This includes compiling and reviewing IP policies to ensure efficiency of the technology transfer process, whilst ensuring that each technology transfer complies with statutory and regulatory requirements in South Africa and other relevant jurisdictions.
The KZN ROTT supports its institutions in drafting and reviewing of several IP and tech transfer agreements including non-disclosure agreements, tech development agreements, tech license agreements, etc. All agreements we draft or review are still subject to vetting by the concerned institution’s main legal department prior to signing.
As an integral part of our service, commercial analysis is a very essential activity during our technology transfer process. In our commercial analysis, we perform intellectual property evaluation using a variety of techniques which include cost method, market method, and net present value from future cash inflows. Furthermore, our commercial analysis includes opportunity identification, quantification of the potential market, and demand forecasting. The commercial analysis performed is compiled into a formal report which will cover in the broader context Intellectual Property valuation, and market research and analysis. Once the commercial analysis has been performed it will be a guide whether to proceed further in commercializing the intellectual property, and also determine which commercialization root to take between licensing and new venture creation (spin-off formation).
With our Intellectual Property licensing service, we assist the inventor with the facilitation of a licensing agreement. The objective of this service is for us to identify the relevant partner for the Intellectual Property created and propose a license opportunity. We facilitate a platform for negotiation. but before progression to such a stage we draft a non-disclosure agreement for all the affected parties so that all information shared remains confidential. KZNROTT negotiates on behalf of the inventor and the university in return for commercial benefits in the form of royalties that are agreed upon. At the core of the licensing service we perform a due diligence exercise which provides clarity on matters such ownership of the Intellectual Property, royalties, warranties, exclusivity, liabilities, country law governing the agreement, and agreement terms.
The entrepreneurial journey can be challenging especially if one is experiencing it for the first time, but with our service we ensure that all the necessary support to increase chances of entrepreneurial success is available. Once the commercial analysis favours spin-off creation, we embark on a process to register a company with the Companies and Intellectually Properties Commission. Furthermore, a favourable result from our commercial analysis kick-starts the compilation of a business plan, a document we use to pitch value proposition to potential investors. Once the business plan is complete, we contact potential investors and we engage potential industry partners with whose product portfolio the invention is aligned. Moreover, issues pertaining to health, safety, and environmental compliance are facilitated, and we see to it that the start-up is at the stage where certification can be obtained. Lastly, it is also our imperative to market the innovation during events such as exhibitions, summits, conferences, or expos.
Intellectual Property Analysis
Intellectual Property Protection
Intellectual Property Compliance
Intellectual Property Agreements
Commercial Analysis & Reporting
Intellectual Property Licensing
New Venture Creation (Spin Off)
Ideation / Basic Research - TRL 1 -2
Technology readiness level 1-2, refers to early stages of research and development in addressing a certain problem statement. A research dissertations, thesis and research papers are typically the outputs that emanate from this stage of research and development.
Our support in this stage mainly concerns reviewing of research dissertations, thesis and research papers, where a research student and/or supervisor believe that the outcome of their research and development work may be commercially viable. We conduct a quick intellectual property (IP), commercial and market overview to confirm if the reviewed work would be worth IP protection or any commercial undertaking. At this stage, we provide the researchers with disclosure forms to fill in regarding contemplated works we have reviewed and found to be protectable and/or commercially viable, in order to initiate IP protection and commercialization.
Early Lab Proof of Concept TRL 3
Technology Readiness Level 3 is a stage where an experiments regarding an innovative or invented idea are conducted at laboratory scale. Equipment audit, process analysis and proof of concept are performed at during this stage. Upon experimental completion systems tests are conducted in a controlled platform.
By this stage, the KZN ROTT or the university tech transfer office would have received the full disclosure form filled in by the inventor/researcher. Upon receiving the disclosure form, we conduct an in-depth IP, commercial, and market analysis and generate reports thereof. If the invention is protectable by a patent, we liaise with attorneys to file a provisional patent application. Filing the provisional patent application can cost between R15 000 and R35 000, and the provisional patent application grants the invention priority over others for 12 months, a period which allows for further development of the invention before filing a full patent/PCT application.
Late Lab Proof of Concept TRL 4
TRL 4 is the first step in determining whether the individual components will work together as a system. The laboratory system will probably be a mix of on hand equipment and a few special purpose components that may require special handling, calibration, or alignment to get them to function. The basic technological components are integrated to establish that the pieces will work together.
There are several grant funding schemes available for this stage that the inventors can apply for, including the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) Seed Fund, Technology Development Fund, or KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Technology Transfer Fund.
Validation / Trials / System Robustness
In Technology Readiness Level 5 trials, subsystem validation and robustness are conducted in the relevant environment that is outside the controlled environment. This level is important and precedes system demonstration. The major difference between TRL 4 and 5 is the increase in the reliability of the system and environment to the actual application. The system tested is almost prototypical
At this stage, KZNROTT facilitates the patent corporation treaty (PCT) application, which is a process that can take up to 30 months to generate an international search report. The fees for PCT filling can amount to R 60 000. TRL 5 is also supported financially by TIA through the SEED Fund or the Technology Development Fund, therefore researchers can apply for this type of funding at this stage.
Early & late Prototype
In Technology Readiness Level 6-7 a prototype at pilot (engineering) scale is developed and it undergoes system demonstration in the relevant operational environment. If the technology is reliable and performs, it may undergo product certification to assure quality and safety being tested and qualified by a national body like the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). Lastly, manuals, specification, and manufacturing methods are formally recorded and created.
TRL 6 begins true engineering development of the technology as an operational system. The major difference between TRL 5 and 6 is the step up from laboratory scale to engineering scale and the determination of scaling factors that will enable design of the operating system. The prototype should be capable of performing all the functions that will be required of the operational system. The operating environment for the testing should closely represent the actual operating environment. TRL 7 succeeds TRL6 by the true demonstration of the actual system in a relevant (realistic) environment.
TRL 6 is also supported financially by TIA through the SEED Fund or the Technology Development Fund. Based on the outcome of the PCT international search report, the IP may proceed to national phase which can amount to fees of about R70 000 to R120 000.
In Technology Readiness Level 8-9, the technology is operated in a full operational environment and it is ready for market application. This level can be regarded as early commercialisation and market application. The product is manufactured and distributed to the relevant market channels.
In TRL 8, the technology has been proven to work in its final form and under expected conditions. In almost all cases, this TRL represents the end of true system development. Examples include developmental testing and evaluation of the system with actual waste in hot commissioning. At TRL9, the technology is in its final form and operated under the full range of operating conditions
The applicable funding that a researcher can apply for at this stage is the TIA, Technology Development Fund or the Commercialisation Fund.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY COMMERCIALISATION
Intellectual Property Licensing
Intellectual Property Assignment
New Venture Creation
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Dr. Sibusiso Mlondo
He advises and supports institutions in their administration of intellectual property and technology transfer management. He holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), PhD (Chemistry), and MSc (Chemistry, Nanomaterials) from the University of South Africa, The University of Manchester and University of Zululand, respectively.
tel : +27 31 260 8472
cell : +27 83 586 1393
Armed with an MBA and BTech Chemistry degrees, completed courses: Managing Projects, Advanced Project Management and Facilitation courses, Advanced IP Management, General Course on IP to name a few. He has nine years of work experience from various industries including oil & petrochemical; strategy consulting; energy; automotive; and paints & coatings industries.
tel : +27 31 260 1326
cell : +27 76 303 1619
Admin Officer – KZN Regional Office of Technology Transfer. Responsible for providing full administrative support to the KZNROTT. Holds a diploma in Secretarial and currently busy with a Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resource Management.
tel : +27 31 260 1567
cell : +27 71 860 0270
Get in touch...
We are open five days a week please feel free to call. Our office hours are 08:00 - 16:30 Monday to Friday.
(031) 260 1567
Gate 9, Rick Turner Road
Room 200 Innovation Centre
University of KwaZulu Natal Howard College