USC Shoah Foundation Institute Licenses Portfolio of Multi-Media Management Patents
May 24, 2010
Deal Structured by USC Stevens Institute for Innovation Considered “Game-Changing” by Industry Experts
By Elisa Wiefel and Talia Cohen
In March, the University of Southern California licensed a significant portfolio of intellectual property assets, comprising 11 issued United States patents from the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. The license allows for continued use and development of the technologies for academic purposes, both at USC and elsewhere.
The IP was acquired by USC when USC acquired the Shoah Foundation and the deal was facilitated by the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation. The inventors will share in the royalty distribution, and a portion of the net revenue from the deal will go directly back into the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, which will help further the Institute’s work of cataloging, indexing, and making available powerfully searchable, large libraries of digital video and other multimedia content for educational and scholarly purposes.
“This opportunity was made possible because of USC’s commitment to innovation and staunch support of our strategic goals,” said Shoah Foundation Institute Executive Director Stephen Smith. “While we are still dependent upon the generosity of donors to support our annual programs and ongoing mission, the funds that the Shoah Foundation Institute will receive from the agreement will make a valuable contribution to our long term planning and development.”
Because of the short years left on the patent life, and other considerations, USC Stevens Institute for Innovation adopted a unique approach for finding an industry partner to commercialize this technology by using the services of an intellectual property brokerage firm called ICAP Ocean Tomo.
Importantly, USC Stevens structured the deal in a way that no other university had done, which minimized risks and maximized return. ICAP Ocean Tomo CEO Dean Becker said of the deal structure, "The sale of an exclusive license represents a game-changing event for universities and government research organizations who must maintain ownership of their assets."
The auction raised significant funds for the University. These funds will promote continued research and innovation among faculty and students. “We are proud that we can help support and advance the groundbreaking work taking place at the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. This demonstrates the wealth of innovation happening in the USC College and throughout USC, and a successful license of this nature is such an exciting win for all of us,” said Krisztina “Z” Holly, USC Vice Provost for Innovation and Executive Director of the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation.
The patents cover the Institute’s technology for the storage, retrieval, cataloguing, and indexing of the Institute’s archive of nearly 52,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and witnesses. This technology solves pervasive multimedia management issues by providing an efficient cataloging mechanism with generalized interfaces so that system components supplied by multiple vendors can be interconnected. The technology also provides generic methods of cataloging used to streamline multimedia data in a cohesive form for analysis. The identity of the licensee is confidential due to terms of the agreement, but it is with a major corporation with whom USC looks forward to developing a long-term relationship.
The USC Shoah Foundation Institute was established to collect and preserve the testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. It maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world: nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries. The Institute is part of the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences; its mission is to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry—and the suffering they cause—through the educational use of the Institute's visual history testimonies.