Licensing FAQs

KU maintains a database of technologies available for licensing. Contact one of the licensing managers or call 785-864-6401 if you’re interested in learning more.

A license agreement provides a company the right to use KU-owned intellectual property to develop and/or commercialize (bring products and/or services to the market).

The license agreement typically includes the following terms:

  • License fee
  • Field of use
  • Payments of patent costs
  • Commercial diligence / Development milestones
  • Royalty on sales
  • Minimum royalty

See Swift Startup License terms and requirements for additional information.

Since each emerging technology has different market value, the cost for a license is determined by a licensing manager. KU uses industry standards for terms, royalties, and stage of development.

Generally, licensing a KU technology involves three expenses:

  1. Licensing fee
  2. Patent costs (past and future)
  3. Royalties

The license fees and “past” patent cost reimbursement are due after executing the agreement. Royalties are paid to KU when a product is sold.

To ensure that the licensee has a reasonable commercialization strategy, KU expects licensees to submit a detailed business plan (under a confidential disclosure agreement) to develop and commercialize the intellectual property. The deliverable milestones should correspond with the business plan.

To exchange confidential information between KU and a potential licensee (e.g. an unpublished patent application or a company’s business), the parties sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA or CDA). The licensee agrees not to use confidential information without a license agreement and not to disclose it if it is not in the public domain.

Royalties are calculated on a percentage-of-sales or fee-per-unit basis. KU expects a minimum royalty each year after an agreed upon development period. The minimum royalty is included in the license agreement to encourage timely commercialization and active marketing of the technology. It’s set at a relatively low amount compared to the expected royalties. Any royalties earned offset the minimum royalty and are not an additional fee.

An option agreement gives a company the right to review a technology to determine if it’s a good fit for the company. During the option period, KU will keep the technology off the market, and it will be available only to the company to license for a one-time fee.