Licensing IP from KUCTC

When working with partners large or small, KUCTC’s approach to licensing is grounded in 5 key concepts:

  1. We want to understand: Understanding the value of our intellectual property, how our partners will create new value, and how KU will share in that value.
  2. We work to find balance: Our licensing terms should balance risk and reward for both parties, resulting in a “win-win” scenario.
  3. We must be creative: Opportunities differ, and that offers KUCTC a chance to be creative in structuring licenses.
  4. We move with a sense of urgency: We prioritize moving licenses forward in a timely and responsible manner.
  5. We’re in this together: We recognize that if successful, KUCTC and our licensees will work together for many years.

We strive to be transparent when engaging with our partners. While many agreements require negotiation, here you can find templates for our most common agreement templates. We hope these can help our partners gain a better understanding of licensing IP from KUCTC.

Ready to get started? Find technologies ready to license by browsing our KU Intellectual Property Available portfolio.

Licensing FAQs

Have questions? Find answers to the most frequently asked questions here.

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.

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.

To help facilitate a smooth transition from university to startup, KU Center for Technology Commercialization offers a simplified, ready-to-use license agreement (called Swift) that can be a fit for many KU-affiliated startup companies developing KU-patented intellectual property.

For details on eligibility requirement and the Swift licensing process visit the Swift Licensing Page

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

During Negotiations - Licensing IP takes time, effort, negotiations, and a dash of creativity. KUCTC will negotiate licenses (exclusive and non-exclusive), options, and other associated agreements relating to IP with our partners. The extent our researchers are engaged in those processes varies by situation. During license negotiations, our team will work to inform our researchers about key steps and may ask for input, particularly if technical details become relevant (example - development milestones). We will also notify our researchers when a license has been completed. As a note – if we are licensing IP to a KU-related startup, KUCTC does not negotiate directly with our faculty or other employees.  

Post-License – Most licenses will have ongoing obligations we will monitor. These can be financial and non-financial (progress reporting). Our finance and operations staff will take the lead in monitoring those obligations for compliance and ensuring reporting is timely. We are happy to provide updates upon request and encourage you to reach out if you have a question regarding the status of a particular license.

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.

Confidentiality Agreement (CDA or NDA): An agreement that allows KU researchers and staff to exchange confidential information with an outside party and includes obligations to preserve the confidentiality of the information. Generally, KUCTC manages CDAs that relate a potential licensing transaction.

Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA): An agreement discussing the management of intellectual property rights with a party that is a joint owner of the intellectual property. These agreements helps clarify which party leads commercialization activities and how costs and revenue will be shared. Also known as a Joint-Invention Agreement.

License Agreement: An agreement most often with a for-profit/commercial entity that will give that entity rights to commercialize or use KU intellectual property. A license agreement will often outline payments, legal details, development plans and diligence requirements. License agreements can be exclusive or non-exclusive.

Option Agreement: An agreement with a for-profit partner granting a time limited option to acquire license rights in certain Georgia State intellectual property. Often an option is used as an early step toward a more formal license arrangement with a partner, providing the partner with an exclusive period of time to conduct further review, discussion, and diligence.

Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA): An agreement with another party to sponsor certain research to be conducted at KU or KUMC by our researchers.  An SRA may be supported by funding from for-profit (e.g., private industry) or nonprofit (state or federal government, foundations, etc.) sponsors.

Revenue Distribution Agreement (RDA): An agreement among the inventors/contributors to a particular invention that specifies the sharing of revenue between those individuals and builds upon the KU Revenue Distribution Policy. (LINK-

License KU Technology

KU has a diverse portfolio of technologies available for licensing to give your company a competitive edge.