Архив метки: Kelvin Willoughby

Skoltech exports IP knowledge and experience to Thailand

It is already a known fact that Skoltech is a unique university in Russia, as it puts Innovation as the core of its research and educational programs. In our Laboratory for Innovation and Intellectual Property Management, researchers led by Prof. Kelvin Willoughby focus on the role of Intellectual Property (IP) in the development of start-ups. In the past month, Willoughby and Ph.D. student Punyapat Saksupapchon, have done some research in Thailand, and as a result, were invited to hold a seminar for Thai entrepreneurs.

Punyapat Saksupapchon graduated last year as a space track student, and wanted to stay in Skoltech for her Ph.D. She ended up at Prof. Willoughby’s team at the Laboratory for Innovation and Intellectual Property Management. As part of her research, Saksupapchon went to her homeland, Thailand, to investigate the role of intellectual property in the international commercialization strategies of firms in the lithium ion battery industry and complementary industries such as electric vehicles, mobile electronics and electrical grid storage.

Prof. Willoughby joined her for a meeting with officials of Thailand’s National Innovation Agency (NIA), in which they requested NIA’s assistance in introducing them to companies in Thailand relevant to Punyapat’s research. During the meeting, the NIA officials wanted to learn more about the overall program of research carried out by Willoughby’s team at the Laboratory for Innovation and Intellectual Property Management. They were especially intrigued by the research and teaching on the role of intellectual property in the strategy of technology-related start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As a consequence of the meeting, Prof. Willoughby was invited to deliver a half-day training seminar for Thai entrepreneurs, under the NIA’s sponsorship.

nia-thailand_24-1-2017_brochureThe NIA advertised and promoted for managers and entrepreneurs in small and medium-sized enterprises in Thailand. It was for business people, not academics. On January 24th, about 30 participants, from a variety of industries, including automotive engine technology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, transportation, telecommunications, aerospace, manufacturing and food processing, attended the seminar.

The seminar focused on four practical case studies in technology entrepreneurship, taken from Prof. Willoughby’s own research and personal experience, in the following fields: medical devices, digital media distribution, weapons and specialized manufacturing tools. In each case he described the role of intellectual property management in the strategies of the ventures, and mapped out general principles of intellectual property relevant to entrepreneurs. The case studies were each followed by group discussions in which the industry participants compared the issues and ideas presented to them with practical cases in which they were involved in Thailand.

We asked Prof. Willoughby to share his impression from the event: “I was delighted by the enthusiasm and engagement of the participants. The thing that most impressed me about the seminar was that almost of the participants — who were mostly practical business people — had encountered serious IP management challenges in their business, and seemed to have a thirst for insights guidance and conversation about how to deal with IP problems. They also seemed to enjoy very much have a variety of international examples to compare with Thai experience.

At the end of the seminar almost all of the participants expressed how refreshing and helpful the found my approach to be, in contrast with what they described as the normal approach in Thailand where a lawyer would give a dry or turgid talk about principles of IP law. The participants seemed to really appreciate the fact that I shared real practical stories (rather than dry law and theory) with them, and that I brought theory to life with real cases and discussion with the participants”.


The success of the seminar was not overlooked by the organizers, who asked Prof. Willoughby if he would be willing to come back to Bangkok to deliver a similar seminar again for oaths audiences of entrepreneurs in Thailand.

The Licensing Game

The purpose of the intellectual property licensing exercise, held for the first time at Skoltech, was to give students a sense of the challenging and often stressful nature of patenting, market analysis, financial negotiations and deal closing in the real world.

The purpose of the intellectual property licensing exercise, held for the first time at Skoltech, was to give students a sense of the challenging and often stressful nature of patenting, market analysis, financial negotiations and deal closing in the real world.

In a fluorescent lit meeting room, isolated from the world by frosted glass walls, a Sunday afternoon drama is unfolding. Leaning over a small oblong desk, a young woman faces off with a young man. She is the coolheaded CEO of a multinational corporation which produces blood filtration materials for the biotech and health-care industries. He is the eager head of a startup company. They are thrashing out the final, crucial details of a major licensing deal.

Around the stuffy room, technology transfer experts, commercialization professionals and patent writers specializing in medical devices debate the latest offer on the table. An assistant struggles to locate a smartphone buried under a jumble of post-it notes and pizza trays. Yet one element is overlooked in the rush to meet a looming deadline for signing a game changing deal: this is a game.

Students in the new Skoltech course — called “Intellectual Property and Technological Innovation” — spent a whole weekend, day and night, negotiating a technology license agreement.  Forty two students, in nine teams and more than ten countries, spent two intensive days playing an “intellectual property licensing game” in which they had to: learn and hone negotiation skills; connect financial analysis, market analysis, industry analysis, intellectual property analysis and technology assessment; learn to master the art of working as a team; and reach a win-win licensing deal by the end of the weekend.  Each team spent many days in preparing prior to playing the game.

The intellectual property licensing game: "as tense as in real life".

The intellectual property licensing game: “as tense as in real life”.

As the negotiations are reaching boiling point, Professor Kelvin Willoughby, Associate Dean at Skoltech, who taught the course and oversaw the final exercise proceedings steps outside the room. Willoughby says he was impressed by how “most of the participants forgot that they were playing a game. They took on the persona of the corporate position they assumed, and strategized and negotiated as if their survival depended on it. It is a simulation, yet it is hard work and it is real.”

A sigh of relief is heard from inside the meeting room and the door is flung open. Participants are applauding one another and cheering. The fierce CEO and fearless entrepreneur shake hands. Everyone morphs back from character to student form. It is time to go to class for conclusions and takeaways.

(Text: Ilan Goren. Photos: kelvin Willoughby and Zeljko Tekic)




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5th Skoltech Innovation Program Conference

Innovation is a complex process but its ultimate goal is clear: bring ideas to impact. Image courtesy of Hyoin Min, Flickr

Innovation is a complex process but its ultimate goal is clear: bring ideas to impact. Image courtesy of Hyoin Min, Flickr

The 5th Skoltech Innovation Program Conference will take place Oct. 08-09

The Skoltech Innovation Program (SIP) was launched in 2012 by Skoltech’s CEI and developed in collaboration with the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The program helps research teams advance their scientific projects towards commercialization. It provides support with technological development, marketing and intellectual property management.

The fifth biannual SIP conference will bring together six research teams – all program participants – and their mentors (catalysts), as well as Russian and international experts in the field of technological innovation. The attendees will discuss progress achieved by the research teams for the last four months and their plans for further development.

The get-together will kick off Tuesday, October 08, with a Program overview and team work sessions. These will focus on target market identification, development of an existing or new product/technology, intellectual property management and commercialization strategies.

On the next day, October 09, research teams will report on the progress achieved so far. SIP Experts will provide professional recommendations for future strategic and technological improvement.

Professor Kelvin Willoughby of the Skoltech Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will deliver a presentation on “Intellectual Property Management and Technological Innovation: What Can International Experience Teach Us?”  Dr. Alexey Kosik, one of the SIP’s seasoned catalysts, will lead a master class on creating a fast lane for an invention from lab to the market.
In addition to supporting the research projects, the conference also aims to build a vibrant innovation community within the Program in order to make it more efficient and beneficial for its participants. This community is growing fast, as new catalysts and experts express their interest in sharing experience and helping the selected teams to succeed.

If you’d like to attend and for more info please write to 

Full program:

Day 1 – October 8

09:00-09:30 Registration

Welcome coffee-break

09:30-09:40 Raj Rajagopalan, Professor, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of Skoltech

Welcome address

09:40-09:50 Ilia Dubinsky, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of Skoltech;

Igor Seleznev, Director of Research Programs and Technology Transfer of Skoltech

Welcome address

09:50-10:00 Dmitry Pebalk, Skoltech Innovation Program Manager of Skoltech

Plan and format of the conference

10:00-13:00 First Section: Teams Working With Catalysts

Topic: Target market and competition

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00-16:00 Second Section: Teams Working With Catalysts

Topic: Target characteristics and development of the either existing or a new product/technology

16:00-16:20 Coffee-break
16:20-17:40 Third Section: Teams Working With Catalysts

Topic: IP strategy and commercialization way

17:40-18:00 Summary

Day 2 – October 9

09:00-09:30 Coffee-break
09:30-10:50 Presentations by teams:

Konstantin Severinov (Skoltech)

A platform approach to develop new antibiotic leads based on microcins

Petr Gorelkin (MSU, Department of Chemistry)

Nanopipette electrochemical biosensors

Marat Gallyamov (MSU, Department of Physics)

Superhydrophobisation of synthetic fabrics by deposition of ultrathin fluoropolymer films from solutions in supercritical carbon dioxide

10:50-11:10 Coffee-break
11:10-12:30 Presentations by teams:

Stanislav Evlashin (International Laser Center of MSU)

Perspective graphene-based materials with high absorption index in visible and near IR range

Dmitry Kirsanov (ITMO University)

Multisensor device for instrumental toxicity assessment

Anton Kotov (MISiS)

Superplastic aluminum sheets

12:30-14:00 Lunch
14:00-16:00 Alexey Kosik, CEO, Quantum Cure, Inc.

Training: “From Lab to Success”

16:00-16:20 Coffee-break
16:20-16:50 Professor, Kelvin W. Willoughby, Skoltech

“Intellectual Property Management and Technological Innovation:

What Can International Experience Teach Us?”

16:50-17:00 Summary and Closing Remarks


* The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) is a private graduate research university in Skolkovo, Russia, a suburb of Moscow. Established in 2011 in collaboration with MIT, Skoltech educates global leaders in innovation, advances scientific knowledge, and fosters new technologies to address critical issues facing Russia and the world. Applying international research and educational models, the university integrates the best Russian scientific traditions with twenty-first century entrepreneurship and innovation.