University of Minnesota
Office for Technology Commercialization

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For Industry

Minnesota Innovation Partnerships

Whether your business is pharmaceuticals, medical devices, transportation or food science, partnering in research through the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Innovation Partnerships—or MN-IP—can significantly increase your company’s competitive edge and improve its bottom line.

Known nationally as the "Minnesota Method" for its groundbreaking approach to make it easier for business to work with the university research community, MN-IP is designed to improve access to university-developed technology while reducing the risk and cost associated with sponsoring research and licensing intellectual property (IP). MN-IP has two primary components: MN-IP Create and MN-IP Try and Buy.

Sponsored Research

MN-IP Create

For companies interested in creating new IP using sponsored research at the U of M.

MN-IP Create streamlines the process of sponsoring research and licensing IP. It establishes industry-friendly terms up front, granting companies an exclusive worldwide license to the resulting IP. Companies control all patent filings associated with the technology developed during the research project. And, they are free to sublicense the technology at any time.

Program Features

  • Grants exclusive worldwide rights to the technology resulting from a research project
  • Includes pre-set licensing terms:
    • One-time fee of 10 percent of the sponsored research agreement or $15,000, whichever is greater
    • Royalties of 1 percent apply only if product sales exceed $20 million per year

MN-IP Create Option Sheet [PDF]

For questions about MN-IP Create, contact Leza Besemann, technology strategy manager.

Technology Licensing

MN-IP Try and Buy

For companies interested in licensing existing U of M inventions

MN-IP Try and Buy provides companies with a low-cost, low-risk method to determine the commercial potential behind existing university-developed technologies. Companies can take available technologies for a low cost “test-run” (or even try them fee-free if qualified) to test the viability of the innovation for their company. The new program grants companies a low-cost agreement to analyze technology under pre-negotiated licensing terms for a trial period without incurring any U.S. patent costs until a patent issues and without paying royalties on the first $1 million in revenue. One of the program highlights is the discount allotted to Minnesota companies which reduces royalty rates and can eliminate fees for the trial period.

See list of available Try and Buy technologies

Program Features

  • Companies receive a low-risk, low cost trial to the technology, including pre-set licensing terms
  • A small fixed fee applies for the trial period, with no other costs
  • No U.S. patent costs due until the patent issues
  • The first $1 million of product revenue is royalty-free
  • Minnesota companies receive discounts for the trial period and royalty rate
  • Companies gain exclusive worldwide license to the technology

MN-IP Try and Buy Option Sheet [PDF]

For questions about MN-IP Try and Buy, contact Rick Huebsch, associate director.

Research Highlight

In the news

MN-IP featured in January 2014 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics

National Journal features UMN inventions, MN-IP


“Our U of M research agreement has been huge in preparing our company for the future. We have a true partnership, with ongoing product work in our company pipeline, and we’re well positioned for the future.”

Doug Green
President & CEO, American Peat Technology

“International Cardio Corporation has been collaborating with the University of Minnesota for over three years and it is great to see these MN-IP program actions to be even more open for business. Published pricing and Minnesota discounts should lead to quicker transactions to the benefit of the university and their commercial partners.”

Dennis Sellke
CEO & Chairman of the Board, International Cardio Corp.

“The University of Minnesota has a unique approach in eliminating the need for protracted negotiations over IP by allowing the sponsoring company to pre-pay a fee and receive an exclusive worldwide license, and all associated royalties. By taking a flexible approach to negotiations, universities are trying to encourage more industry partnerships.”

U.S. Department of Commerce

“The U of M has looked a lot harder at what industry needs and how industry wants to work with universities.”

Frank Thibodeau
CEO, Adama Materials, Inc.

“Intellectual property issues are frequently cited as a barrier to industry-university collaborative development and commercialization of new technology. I believe the new approaches toward IP licensing that the University of Minnesota is taking represent a step toward fostering greater industry-university collaboration by significantly reducing or eliminating those IP issues.”

Karl Haider
Research Fellow, Industrial Operations, New Technologies, Bayer Material Science

“Ecolab has benefited from working with the University of Minnesota in many different ways over the years. The university's MN-IP program has been a great addition to their portfolio of offerings that promote industry collaboration with the U.”

Jeff Montanye
Vice President RD&E, Technology Partnerships & Development, Ecolab