Cal Poly Pomona has long been a place of new ideas and cutting-edge solutions. But the best ideas don’t mean much if they sit, forgotten and collecting cobwebs, or even worse, end up stolen.
Marie Talnack, who heads up the university’s new Technology Transfer/Industry Clinic Office, wants to make sure that never happens. Since Talnack arrived in May, she has been working to build a one-stop shop for campus innovators.
“I think the time is right that we’re doing this,” she says. “Think about universities as the information factory of this era, much like the factories of the industrial age. Universities can stimulate innovation, create jobs, and revitalize communities. They can create a chain reaction of entrepreneurialism, start-up opportunities, and spin-offs from the original start-ups.”
Talnack’s office is designed to offer several types of services, including assisting students, faculty, staff and administration with intellectual property issues, copyrights, patents, trademarks and confidentiality agreements.
“There are a lot of things you need to protect, even if you aren’t going to make money on it — a story, a dance, a poem you wrote,” Talnack says.
Grant-funded research, websites, articles, and presentations at conferences can be protected as well, she adds.
The office can also help members of the campus community commercialize their ideas. Once they obtain a patent, the tech transfer office can work to license the technology beyond the university’s borders. This moves technology and innovative ideas into the commercial marketplace where they can result in new products and new uses.
The office’s Industry Clinic works toward that same goal, but from a different angle, serving as a matchmaker for companies that need a problem solved and students looking for real-world experience.
“There are a lot of small businesses out there that don’t have any scientists or engineers to work on their problems. Student teams can work with these companies to solve a problem and get paid for their work on the team,” Talnack says.
A partnership with the Industry Manufacturer’s Council has opened the clinic to companies within the City of Industry.
The Industry Clinic gives students the opportunity to show potential employers that they can apply what they learn in the classroom and be a valuable asset to employers as soon as they graduate, Talnack says.
All of these services are part of supporting student and faculty in thinking about innovative solutions in everything they do, Talnack says. She sees a future for Cal Poly Pomona that includes an innovation incubator and campus-wide innovation fairs at which agriculture students will have the opportunity to bounce ideas off biology students, or apparel merchandising students can brainstorm with engineers.
“The students are hungry for opportunities. We need to give them the support they need. They live in an entrepreneurial world and they’re bringing that culture to campus. What we need to do is facilitate and support their ideas,” Talnack says.
For more information about the Technology Transfer Office or to learn about the patenting process, visit www.cpp.edu/~research/tto. Marie Talnack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 909 869-3771. The office is located in Building 1, Room 222.