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Venture Support
Here you'll find a variety of opportunities to get help with your commercialization efforts. Come back often as we are always adding new programs.

Certificate in Technology Commercialization

The Certificate in Technology Commercialization provides students with a variety of opportunities to learn commercialization skills in an academic/real world environment that combines theory and practice. Students participate in our living laboratory academic program to experience the entire spectrum of the commercialization process: invention, product development, technical and market feasibility analysis, intellectual property acquisition, business planning, and venture funding while potentially becoming stakeholders in a new technology venture. They are also eligible to apply for summer internships sponsored by industry partners to give them additional experience in taking a new technology to market.

The program is particularly suited to those in science, engineering, and business. Classes include masters and Ph.D.-level researchers in medicine, the sciences, and all areas of engineering as well as MBA candidates.

The completed certificate is awarded by USC and is documented on the graduate’s transcript.

Three required courses and one elective are offered. Students benefit from faculty in science, engineering, and business to guide them.

The required courses are:
BAEP 557 (3 Sp) Technology Commercialization
BAEP 556 (3 Fa) Technology Feasibility
BAEP 559 (3 FaSp) Investing in New Ventures

Elective courses include:
BAEP 553 (3 Fa) Cases in New Venture Management
BAEP 555 (3 Sp) Management of Rapidly Growing Ventures
ISE 585 (3 Sp) Strategic Management of Technology
ISE 555 (3 Sp) Invention and Technology Development
ISE 515 (3 FaSpSm) Engineering Project Management

Click here for details on these courses.

For current USC graduate students, courses credited to the Graduate Certificate in Technology Commercialization may be completed in conjunction with course work required for the program in which the student is already enrolled. Applicability of TC courses to the student’s primary degree program is determined by the student’s home department. For USC alumni, courses completed in conjunction with the individual’s prior degree may not be credited toward the certificate. Appropriate substitutions for required courses will be determined and documented by the program director.

The Application Process

The Certificate in Technology Commercialization is offered to complement or extend the individual’s graduate education.
To qualify for admission to the program, current USC graduate students should have completed the equivalent of one year of graduate study at USC (at least 12 units for part-time students) and earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.20. Individuals holding graduate degrees awarded by USC are welcome to apply. Non-matriculated individuals (e.g., visiting scholars and those applying for limited student status) are not eligible for the program.
There are two parts to the application process:

1. Submit an application through USC Admissions (program code 1249). (The application fee is not required of current USC students and USC alumni.) International applicants are advised to see the instructions for International Students published in the USC Graduate Admissions Application Booklet.

2. Submit a program application directly to the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. To request a program application form call 213-740-0505. After the Lloyd Greif Center has received your complete application you will be contacted to confirm receipt of your application and to schedule an interview. Satisfaction of minimum conditions for application does not guarantee admission. In their review of applications, the admissions committee members consider the applicant’s completed academic work, evidence of potential business leadership, motivation, work experience, and competitiveness within the current applicant pool.

Complete applications must be submitted no later than
May 1 for fall semester
November 1 for spring semester

Admission is granted for a specific semester/term only. Deferment of enrollment to a later semester is not automatically permitted. Should an applicant need to defer enrollment, a request to do so must be submitted to the Vice Dean for Graduate Programs. Approval is not guaranteed.

For future semesters consult the USC Academic Calendar.

USC Companies Assisted by CTC

C TC has worked with the following companies in many capacities: feasibility analysis, consulting for commercialization strategy, assistance in finding management team members, consulting on intellectual property strategy, developing a commercialization team, providing interns, mentoring preparation for funding, and introductions to venture capitalists and angels for funding. Note that CTC helped many other researchers and USC companies that are not listed here.

Applied Genomics

Audyssey Laboratories

Balance Pharmaceuticals

Beta Probe-Doheny Retina Institute

Bionnix, Inc.

Blister Fluid Diagnostics


Digital Media Works

DisCover (acquired by Microsoft)


Farmal Biomedicines

Fetch Technologies

Intragene Sciences

IntrOcular Drug Delivery-Doheny Retina

ISS, Inc.

Language Weaver


Lightstage, inc.

Packet Digital

Stealth Cells

Stysis Technologies


Athea (temp name)


Cancer Pharmaceuticals

Cell Matrix

Contour Crafting

Epi Genomics




Orca –now




Response Genetics




Tactical Language

Targeted Pharmaceuticals

Transderm UK

Transderm USA





Technology Commercialization Process

The following is a broad outline of the technology commercialization process. Use it to identify where you are in the process and where you will need to go to bring your technology to market. There are links embedded in the outline to take you to additional resources on a particular subject.

Innovation Evaluation
Identification of the Scientific Value of the Research
Identification of the Commercial Value of the Research
Protection of Intellectual Property
Second Evaluation of Intellectual Property
Critical Decision Point
Business Concept Development and Testing
Business Development
Business Start-up


Innovation Evaluation

The innovation process is not linear. In fact, it moves more like a pinball machine—taking off in one direction until it hits a snag, then bouncing of in another direction. Innovation is an iterative process where the inventor learns from his or her mistakes and builds on that learning until the goal is achieved.

The invention and innovation process is generally comprised of four categories of activities: connection, discovery, invention, and application. Briefly, connection involves recognizing a relationship that might lead to a discovery, which is the “ah ha” or eureka! phenomenon that occurs when something new is discovered. From this discovery comes an invention that spawns applications in a variety of different contexts.

At this early stage, it is important to do the following:
· Identify the scientific value of your research
· Identify the commercial value of the research
· Protect your research with bound, signed, and dated laboratory manuals


Identify the Scientific Value of the Research

This portion of the tech commercialization process is perhaps the easiest for most inventors. It entails determining if you’re dealing with

· A disruptive technology, that is, a technology not based on an existing paradigm, or
· A sustaining technology, a derivative of an existing technology.


Identify the Commercial Value of the Research

Not all research that has scientific value also has commercial value. Commercial value simply means that there is a market and customers who are willing to pay for your technology because it meets a perceived need. Commercial value is usually determined via a feasibility analysis, which is discussed below.


Protection of Intellectual Property

Many inventors fail to realize how important it is to protect their work legally so that they have the option to apply for a patent or other form of IP at the appropriate time. Protecting innovative ideas and inventions is critical to successful commercialization. But which type of protection to choose and which strategy will best meet business goals are also vital. In general, there are four major classes of intellectual property: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.

  • Patents

A patent gives you the exclusive right to prevent others from making and selling your device. It is an offensive right, that is, you have the right to sue the infringer. To learn more about patents, visit the US patent office.

· Issues related to publication of research

· Preliminary filing for protection – provisional patent

· Search of prior art

· Identification of potential industrial partners

  • Trademarks

    A trademark is simply a brand: a symbol, logo, design, scent, or color.
    Click here to learn more.

  • Copyrights

    Copyrights protect original works of authors, composers, screenwriters, and programmers. The quickest way to provide notice of copyrighted material is to place on the document the following:

    ©Copyright 2001 YourName

    For more information, click here.


Second Evaluation of Intellectual Property

· Feasibility of the patent – does it meet the requirements?

· Interest of the industry


Critical Decision Point

Once the invention is prototyped and the various forms of intellectual property studied, it’s time to consider if going after a patent or other form of IP is feasible or necessary to the successful commercialization of the technology. For some products, getting a patent will take longer than the window of opportunity will allow. For others, a patent will provide a brief quiet period to enter the market without competitors. In addition to deciding on whether to patent, the entrepreneur will also have to determine if the invention meets the Patent Office’s requirements for patentability and if there is a market for the technology. In general, a device must fall into one of the following categories:

· Machine
· Process
· Articles of Manufacture
· Composition
· New use for one of the above

To learn more about the PTO’s requirements go to www.uspto.gov .


Business Concept Development and Testing

Determining if the invention or innovation is feasible requires the development of a business concept, that is, looking at who the customer is, what the value proposition is, and how the benefit will be delivered (distribution). It also involves a thorough analysis of the industry and market, the management team, and the resources required to start the venture.

· Conduct feasibility analysis
· Determine funding strategy
· Find strategic partners
· Negotiations for equity, funding, and intellectual property

Check the home page for announcements of upcoming workshops and lectures related to feasibility analysis. If you would like to be considered for an MBA intern on your project to help you test its feasibility, contact Dr. Kathleen Allen.


Business Development

Once a business concept is judged to be feasible, it is necessary to develop the infrastructure for the business—namely, the company. This is typically accomplished by preparing a comprehensive business plan documenting the operations of the business, policies, a marketing and growth plan, and a complete set of financial statements in addition to including updated industry, market, and team analysis from the feasibility study.

Business development also entails setting up the legal structure of the business and the distribution of equity to the shareholders. If outside capital is being sought, negotiations with investors will also take place. Negotiations with strategic partners to implement certain areas of the business plan must be conducted.


Business Start-up

The actual start-up of the business includes such activities as finding and negotiating for facilities, hiring personnel, stocking inventories of raw materials and components, and general administrative organization.

· Management
· Marketing
· Production
· Strategic alliance