Linda Chao of Stanford University Office of Technology Licensing talks about the LES Foundation Graduate Student Business Plan Competition




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Video title: Linda Chao of Stanford University Office of Technology Licensing talks about the LES Foundation Graduate Student Business Plan Competition
Released on: July 15, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Linda Chao, Senior Licensing Associate at Stanford University Office of Technology Licensing about the LES Foundation Competition.

Each year the LES Foundation, along with Licensing Executives Society (U.S.A. and Canada) and LES International invites graduate students from around the globe to participate in its International Graduate Student Business Plan Competition. The event uniquely focuses on business plans that emphasize intellectual property (IP) assets and strategies for how these assets will be leveraged to achieve business goals. For more information visit www.lesfoundation.org
Graduate Business Plan Award
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at the LESI Conference in London, in 2011. On this show I have Linda Chao, who is Senior Associate at Stanford University's Office of Technology Licensing (OTL), welcome to the show.
Linda Chao:
Thank you, happy to be here.
Fintan Walton:
Linda, you have played a very important role in the Licensing Executive Society Foundation business plan award which is a graduate business plan award as I understand it, could you tell us first of all how you got involved in this particular award?
Linda Chao:
Okay, just to go back a little bit in history I've actually been involved with LES for about 14-years now. I've been at Stanford for 14-years and so I started off just going to the networking and education events, and about eight-years ago I volunteer to participate in this event where it was the first year they had a business plan competition I am involved with entrepreneurial activities that Stanford and I thought this will be a great program, so I started first half as just helping out being a judge and then more recently in the last four-years I've been in the chair of the competition and this is the first year we've had the finals outside of North America.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, very good. So tell us now a little bit about this graduate business plan award?
Linda Chao:
So it's basically a business plan competition where students submitted business plan which should include an overview about their IP assets and how they are going to be commercializing these IP assets to achieve their business goals. So lot of them are like inventions that either they've created or other scientist have created they build a business around it and then they show how basically a picture of business plan to VC's. And then our competition is focused to make sure that there is an intellectual property asset and how they are gonna leverage it, and so this year we were very lucky we've received 78 submissions from around the world and we've selected six finalist to travel to London to compete for the finals and so that's the award that was given out today at lunch.
Fintan Walton:
Fantastic. So obviously you've invited graduates from both the North America and outside North America to participate in this what was the degree of variation between that those 78 that participated?
Linda Chao:
We had a lot in the life science area, we had lot in high tech, a lot in the clean tech, chemical materials we also had social entrepreneurship as well and so I think there is a lot of entrepreneurial students who are coming up with different ideas and so we were getting submissions from I think many countries around the world, I think in the end the finalist we have one from Russia, one from Sweden, one from Australia and then from the US, Arkansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin so very wide range and we've been international for the last four-years, the first four-years are just focused on the US, but because of LESI they with their support we actually extended it so we would have international contestants and it really is a nice global competition.
Fintan Walton:
Right, and you've been a judge as you've said you've been involved in judging of this for the last four-years have you seen things improve, have you seen the standards increase over those four-years?
Linda Chao:
The caliber of the students have grown every year, I think each year both we try adding more programs in as well, for example we have an IP mentoring support program lead by Les Goff and through that the students through Skype or phone calls learn more about IP, what we find is a lot of business plans just say I have IP and but really there needs to be more about IP that really there is you should understand what your strategies could be and how you can best leverage it and so we definitely have seen an increase in that quality and I think we are also trying to help that by offering more courses, offering more mentorship and I knew that today, yesterday that students took 100, LES 100 which is an introductory IP and licensing course and through it afterwards the students like I had to go back, I have changes to my business plan and so in that case though improve it for the next time they pitch their business plan, so I think the educational offerings from LES will be helpful.
Criteria and key components of the award
Fintan Walton:
Right, and you obviously mentioned some of the important things that you are looking for as a judge, so just lets go through those, I mean obviously intellectual property is one as you said is not just saying that you've got intellectual properties to commercialization so what other things well you are looking forward from these individuals, the ones particularly they've eventually made it to the awards itself?
Linda Chao:
We have like eight different criteria, but the basic ones that the VC's look at in terms of market opportunity, how attractive it is, what's the quality of the product and service, how is the financials look, how is the management team, and then IP we definitively do great there and we actually had good constructive feedbacks from all the judges. So the first round in terms of the judging they now they field from 78 to 6 all of that feedback is given back to the students so they can further enhance. So I think it's basically what a VC would be looking at it, but many of my judges actually are people from the companies and lawyers who advice these companies and so they are really in the trenches and so they are looking at it from a strategic point, view point so with the different perspective sometimes in the VC's.
Fintan Walton:
Yes, so the strategy obviously is commercial strategy, but also strategy for intellectual properties so how do you put, you may have your intellectual property, you may want to have how do you protect that intellectual what strategies are you going to use to protect it presumably your key components?
Linda Chao:
But it all depend on the industry, because we had a variety on the finalist we had three life science finalist, we also had two high tech finalist and one chemical clean tech so interesting to see like in the chemical side it's trade secret was important for that particular team and or just a process and know-how and then you move to the high tech and lot of that turn out to be branding and then we have the life science a lot about patents and where is your patents is at US only, is it international and so I think as looking at that whole package of patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets.
Winners of Grand Prize award and Global award
Fintan Walton:
And why did the as I understand it basically a number of awards at least two awards could you tell us what those two awards were, and why those individuals won those awards?
Linda Chao:
The two awards there is the grand prize which is looking at all the different criteria and really honestly it was really tough, the judges we actually spend a lot of time talking about the trade-offs between the different teams they all at different stages, but they felt this one team really had the complete package in terms of intellectual property how they were gonna leverage it both in terms of licensing it from the University and what they were planning to go and do it in the future, so they actually had a more complete package.
Fintan Walton:
Sure and the other award which is a global award?
Linda Chao:
Right, so that had to deal with how IP they are gonna manage the IP in a global level and how they were dealing with IP in the global business environment, so in that sense of like looking at what kind of find protection they have, how they are going to be entering in the other markets and I think some of the teams were looking at either in the first round they were very focused in a particular country like whether might just be focused in the US, or may be just Canadian patents or may be it was just copyright or so it all depends.
Fintan Walton:
Right, and the age the ages of these graduates what sort of age range are we talking about?
Linda Chao:
We are focused on graduate students which is basically anybody doing a Master's in MBA or JD's.
Fintan Walton:
So mid 20's?
Linda Chao:
It could be, although some people have gone back like they have worked a while and then gone back, so probably 20's may be early 30's.
Linda Chao's perspective: Future ability to commercial intellectual property
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so the future of our ability to commercialize intellectual property looks secure which is sounds good?
Linda Chao:
Yes for sure, I think these students are great and I think in terms of seeing their pictures and their presentation as of Saturday and then after the class I think will even get better and then after they get through the LESI annual conference and make more contacts, I think they are gonna be when they go see the next VC their business plans is gonna be very sharp and they will be able to answer those IP questions.
Fintan Walton:
Linda Chao, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Linda Chao:
Thank you very much.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Linda Chao
Senior Associate
Linda Chao currently serves as Senior Licensing Associate at Stanford University's Office of Technology Licensing . Linda Chao holds B.S. Electrical Engineering (M.I.T), M.S. Electrical Engineering (M.I.T) and M.B.A. (M.I.T). Her previous work experiences include Digital Equipment Corporation (VLSI design) SEMATECH (competitive analysis of semiconductor industry) and Applied Materials (product marketing). Linda is an LES Foundation Board Member and Chair of the 2011 International Graduate Student Business Plan Competition.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
The Licensing Executives Society (U.S.A. and Canada) Inc., LES International and the LES Foundation
The Licensing Executives Society, (U.S.A. and Canada) Inc. is the pre-eminent professional organization in the field of IP transfer and commercialization in the U.S.A. and Canada. It is one of over 30 member societies of the Licensing Executives Society International (LESI), which has over 12,000 members in 80 countries worldwide. The LES Foundation was established by the Licensing Executives Society, (U.S.A. and Canada), Inc., to increase awareness and understanding of the licensing of intellectual property rights and to communicate the critical role licensing plays in bringing creativity and innovation to the commercial marketplace.