Faculty Startup Guidelines

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Are you a Miami University employee who wants to launch a start-up company based on Miami technology? For some technologies, a startup company is the optimal way to bring the technology to market. The list below will help you get started.

  1. If you are the inventor of the technology you are interested in using, please complete an Invention Disclosure form and submit it to Miami's Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. If you are not an inventor, but are still interested in using Miami technology, please see our list of technologies available for licensing.

  2. Write a business plan. All startup companies should have a defined, plausible business strategy and a plan for its execution. Be sure to define your startup company’s objectives and the critical steps required to commercialize the technology, including:

    - The startup company’s technology and its status;
    - Expected startup company’s products and/or services;
    - Targeted market(s), customers, distribution channels;
    - Size of targeted market(s);
    - Competition, both technical and commercial;
    - Marketing and sales strategy of the startup company;
    - Unique advantages of the startup company, compared to competition;
    - Economics of the business, starting with expected gross margins (i.e., the difference between selling price and product/service cost);
    - Organization and key people involved, including CEO, key officers, board of directors, and advisory board;
    - Key staff and consultants;
    - Other key employees;
    - Operating plans and financial assumptions;
    - Financial forecasts;
    - Financing objectives and/or plans, including valuations, financing sources, and expected startup ownership and governance; and
    - Current status of the startup company and expected schedule of actions, events, and accomplishments.
    Many resources for the planning and execution of new startup companies are available to entrepreneurs in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas. The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation is happy to put you in contact with these resources.

  3. Negotiate a license with Miami. Use of Miami technology will always involve a license from Miami to a licensee, whether it is an existing company or a startup company. Such a license might be exclusive— typically for one or more specific “fields of use” and/or for a specific period of time — if the licensee can meet certain development and product milestones. A non-exclusive license requires somewhat fewer and less stringent milestones. Miami’s license agreement includes the following standard terms for an exclusive license:

    - 2% Royalty
    - 6% Equity
    - Responsibility for future patent costs
    - Insurance requirement
    - Mutually agreed upon metrics for commercialization
    - Indemnification
    - Compliance with applicable Miami policies and all applicable laws

    Additionally, we may work startups to delay patent and other costs on a schedule that meets the needs of the startup and makes commercial sense for Miami.

    Please note that, in the spirit of being transparent, these terms will be the standard that will normally apply and should not be considered starting points for negotiating more favorable terms. Also, please note that if the technology involves exceptional circumstances, such as a large prior investment by the University in the technology or if there were unusual research contract terms leading to the technology, the standard terms may not be available, as it would be unfair and inappropriate for the University. Deals with startup companies for technologies involving such exceptional circumstances are developed and negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

  4. Waive right to royalties under Miami’s Intellectual Property (IP) Policy. Miami’s IP Policy provides for a 50/50 split of net royalties between Miami and the inventor(s) of the technology. If the inventor(s) of the technology are also members of the startup company that licensed that technology, the inventor(s) must waive their rights to these royalties. If not all inventor(s) are involved in the startup company, the uninvolved inventors shall still have the right to their portion of any royalties collected by Miami.

  5. Conflict of Interest Management Plan. The encouragement and support of a startup company by Miami does not change Miami’s other policies, which remain fundamental to the University and its governance, such as its policies on Conflict of Interest, Conflict of Interest & Commitment Policy for Sponsored Research Programs, and other relevant policies. All conflict of interest and conflict of commitment issues should be promptly discussed with the relevant Miami dean/directors and division/department heads. More than likely, a conflict of interest management plan will be required. Please reach out to the Director of Research Ethics and Integrity for assistance.

  6. Conflict of Interest Management Plan. The encouragement and support of a startup company by Miami does not change Miami’s other policies, which remain fundamental to the University and its governance, such as its policies on Conflict of Interest, Conflict of Interest & Commitment Policy for Sponsored Research Programs, and other relevant policies. All conflict of interest and conflict of commitment issues should be promptly discussed with the relevant Miami dean/directors and division/department heads. More than likely, a conflict of interest management plan will be required. Please reach out to the Director of Research Ethics and Integrity for assistance.

  7. Access to Miami space. Miami startup companies may request permission for the use of Miami space, equipment, and certain other physical services, such as computer resources and computer networks, on or off Miami premises. After review of the startup company’s business plan, such services may, at the discretion of Miami, be made available to the start-up if (i) reasonably available and (ii) approved by the relevant department head(s) or dean, for a defined period normally not to exceed two years. This may include an additional fee as warranted by the particular situation.