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Flexibility, distinctive branding mark UW-Madison’s new IP options program

Excerpted from the March 2024 issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. UIDP members can view the entire issue here.

Standard IP agreement options are certainly nothing new for major research universities, but the University of Wisconsin-Madison asserts that its recently launched Badger IP Industry Advantage differs from many others in more than one way. First, say its leaders, they intentionally went as far as they reasonably could in their offerings, to eliminate the need for negotiations as much as possible. (See the program’s details here.)

“We thought through the upper limits of what we would do,” shares Robert Gratzl, JD, UW-Madison’s assistant director of contracts, research, and sponsored programs. “What won’t we do? We’ve given the best options available.”

“We have heard feedback from industry partners and potential partners, as well as internally from our researchers, that it would benefit all parties to have a clear, upfront approach to interactions and to provide consistency in offered and accepted IP terms,” adds UW–Madison interim vice chancellor for research Cindy Czajkowski, PhD. “We have historically engaged in negotiation for IP terms, and we will continue to do that, but ideally, we want to save time and expenses by offering the best possible IP terms upfront. We want to be clear, transparent, and able to provide a timely response to industry sponsors.

“We’re not saying we won’t negotiate IP terms, because there may be instances where a company wants something other than the terms offered through the Badger IP Industry Advantage,” she continues. “But in most cases, we’re offering the best possible option upfront.”

Then there are the names of the options themselves. Many such university programs simply offer “Option I,” “Option II,” and “Option III,” but UW-Madison has chosen to call theirs “The Classic,” The Varsity,” and “The Bascom” — all related to specific aspects of university history and tradition. “We wanted them to be fun and interesting,” explains Natasha Kassulke, director of strategic communications. “We have great pride in our history of 175 years, the success we’ve had in therapeutics, and we’re highly motivated to talk about that whenever we can.”

Excerpted from the March 2024 issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. UIDP members can access the complete article and the entire issue here. Other practitioners may subscribe to receive the UIEA newsletter at