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UT Arlington graduate business students to test patents’ marketability

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Friday, September 2, 2011

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Media Contact: Herb Booth, Office:817-272-7075, Cell:214-546-1082, hbooth@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - Students enrolled this fall in the MBA Professional Cohort at UT Arlington will craft business plans for select Navy patents with a goal of moving new technology to the marketplace as a new component of the degree plan.

The University has signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the College of Business to receive 210 patents from the U.S. Navy. These patents have not yet been commercially developed. MBA students participating in the team-based programs at the University’s Fort Worth and Frisco campuses will review the patents and create business plans for the most marketable technologies.

Ultimately, cohort teams will present their plans to a panel of professors, business leaders and venture capitalists for consideration.

Edmund Prater, an associate professor of Information Systems and Operations Management who has organized this opportunity for the MBA program, said some summer business students got an early jump on the patent evaluations.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about the practical steps involved in taking an idea to the marketplace,” Prater said. “They are learning real-world entrepreneurship.”

The Navy funds a lot of research but isn’t equipped to develop resulting technologies for commercial use. UT Arlington and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce have partnered in an initiative called TechComm and secured some federal funding to link patents developed by federal agencies to private businesses that can market the technology or commercialize products or processes that stem from those patents.

The MBA Professional Cohort patent project stemmed from discussions between TechComm and the Navy, said Ron Elsenbaumer, then the UT Arlington vice president for research and federal relations.

“The idea eventually builds the economy,” Elsenbaumer said. “It helps the government, business and the University. Commercialization of technologies is one of the roles of a major research university.”

One early business plan from the cohorts analyzes a patent for a portable safe room to shield people if they are in the path of severe weather, such as a tornado or for use by personal-protection details for celebrities and dignitaries.

William Deakyne, one of the students who developed a business plan for the portable safe room, said he appreciates the opportunity to participate in a program where the students select a patent they’re interested in.

“We then have the opportunity to analyze that patent’s potential in becoming a viable business venture,” said Deakyne, who also is a former Army major who served in the armored cavalry. “This approach goes beyond the normal business school case study program and provides students with a real world business opportunity to develop.”

Deakyne said the team he worked with spanned several disciplines, including marketing, project management and operations management.

“This approach allowed us to apply the lessons learned in class to a real world project that culminated in an opportunity to present our business plan to a panel of University and community leaders,” Deakyne said.

UT Arlington’s MBA Professional Cohort program is tailored for the working professional. Visit http://www.uta.edu/business/mba/cohort.html for more information.

UT Arlington also offers a 15-month Executive MBA program where graduates earn a dual certificate in Asian Business Studies, the only such combined program in Texas. Visit www.emba.uta.edu for more information.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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