Inventors, 2-2-2 Is Technology Transfer’s Commitment to You
Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV) has received roughly 2,000 invention disclosures since fiscal year 2013. That number reflects the robust innovation culture at Johns Hopkins, but the sheer volume made it difficult for the Technology Transfer Team to be good partners to innovators–until a recent shift in focus, process and infrastructure.
“Before the change in March, I saw a lot of people with good ideas disclose and try to partner with Hopkins,” says Dr. Mike Weisfeldt, the Department of Medicine chair from 2001 to 2014. “I also saw enormous delays within the Technology Transfer Office before it acted, composed a patent and submitted it.”
Considering the United States Patent and Trademark Office has a first-to-file model, meaning the first person to submit a patent application has priority over subsequent ones, going months without hearing from Technology Transfer frustrated inventors.
This past March, that frustration began to subside as the Technology Transfer team aimed to increase its responsiveness and transparency by implementing the 2-2-2 program.
“2-2-2 is JHTV’s commitment to Johns Hopkins inventors,” says Neil Veloso, the executive director of the Technology Transfer office. “If you submit a disclosure, we will contact you within two business days, set up a meeting to confer about your disclosure within two weeks and provide a written decision on your disclosure within two months.”
Over the 2-2-2 initiative’s first eight months, JHTV received 331 disclosures, and the Technology Transfer team, almost without fail, held up their end of the commitment. They met each of the three goals 95 percent of the time.
The team has increased efficiency over the life of the program as they have worked out the kinks in their process. In October and November, they had a 100 percent success rate across each of the commitments. The work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“The 2-2-2 program is a very ambitious commitment,” Weisfeldt says. “The change has been amazing. Faculty really need to understand they will get serious attention from real experts who can help them in a commercial sense.”
Veloso attributed this newfound efficiency to a greater focus on customer service, infrastructure changes to the invention database and workflow, and accountability among each part of the team.
“Internally, we have more rigor and process in our workflow,” Veloso says. “This has led to an excellent response from inventors.”
Though the team is currently operating at near maximum efficiency, Veloso is eyeing improvements to the 2-2-2 program.
“We certainly want to be consistent, have high levels of service and keep our success rates high, but we are also looking to implement the 2-2-2 program in other ways,” Veloso says. “In the future, we could very well add another digit to 2-2-2. We have taken a tremendous first step in improving our responsiveness and transparency, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve our customer service even more.”