Add-On Course

Drafting, Negotiating, and Transacting License Agreements

Technology licensing is a complex endeavor, requiring years of experience to master. One challenge is that an individual licensing professional is responsible for so few transactions annually that deep expertise is hard to develop, and many unique licensing issues are never experienced.

Join this add-on course for a deep dive into the art of academic license negotiation. We'll break down the essentials of license agreements, spotlight common pitfalls, and share strategies for collaborative negotiations and achieving win-win outcomes. Gain insights on countering competitive tactics and navigating both financial and non-financial negotiation terms effectively. The session wraps up with a look at startup-investor term sheets, complemented by a participant-led exchange of real-world negotiation stories. Equip yourself with the knowledge to navigate licensing negotiations with confidence.

Course Outline:
  1. The anatomy of a technology license agreement
  2. Pitfalls and mistake to avoid in licensing
  3. Collaborative negotiations
  4. Competitive negotiations and dirty tricks
  5. Exercise: the Ultimatum Game
  6. The Dirty Dozen:
    1. Negotiation tips for six key financial licensing terms
    2. Negotiation tips for six key non-financial terms
  7. Investor-startup terms sheet terms
  8. Open Forum: shared experiences


  • Alan Bentley, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, Vanderbilt University

*Tentative schedule, program subject to change

  Tuesday, April 30
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Lunch
1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Welcome and Objectives
1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Course Content
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Course Content
5:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.  Wrap-up


Alan Bentley joined Vanderbilt University’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization in June 2011 and is responsible for directing all aspects of the office, focusing on faculty service and transactional efficiency. Prior to Vanderbilt, Alan served for five years as the Director of Commercialization for Cleveland Clinic Innovations, that health care center’s technology commercialization function. Before the Cleveland Clinic, he served as the Associate Director of the University of Virginia’s Patent Foundation.

Alan received his master’s degree in physics from the University of Virginia, and separate bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and in physics from Carnegie Mellon University. Alan is a registered patent agent and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Association of University Technology Managers.