The 21st Century University is faced with modern economy challenges, positioning this institution as an innovation development engine, supported by knowledge transfer processes.

The historical evolution of this secular institution, since the Humboldtian model, characterizes the changes in the internal organization, in education, in the researchers profile and in the design of science itself. The University is no longer closed in on itself, assuming an entrepreneurial character when transferring its knowledge to society, where the sense of applicability of the research is relevant, since this is the merit that citizens can uncover and perceive innovation. This changing of role combining education, research and entrepreneurship has emphasized the protection of knowledge through intellectual property rights, focusing on the technological rights. Industrial property (IP) thus, takes on a strategic role in knowledge enhancement, providing the University with a qualified and wide portfolio of its intellectual capital placing the international innovation policies as one of its priorities.

In Portugal, in the last decade, we have witnessed a considerable increase in the cooperation between University and Industry. This is due not only to the growing recognition of the importance of university research for the innovative industry activities, but also to structural changes such as budget constraints related to public funding, that make it look for other practical ways to support research, where imagination plays an important role. Thus, universities have been adopting a more aggressive and ‘’corporate’’ attitude in search of new funding sources for research, without neglecting the protection of knowledge through different forms of IP.

Among many merit researches carried out around the world and which represent innovative solutions for the market, we also stand out, in Portugal, for excellence and we host one of the best research teams, at international level, in the field of electronics that has revolutionized the use of paper, by creating Paper-e: Green electronics for the future.

Paper-e® counts on an IP strategy, aligned with its marketing objectives. “Paper-e: Green electronics for the future” is a trademark registered internationally which covers three international patents (transistors, memory and battery), headed by Elvira Fortunato and Rodrigo Martins of the Material Research Centre (CENIMAT) of the Faculty of Science and Technology of the Nova University in Lisbon.

What is then the great revolution of Paper-e®? And what if electronic circuits were printed on traditional paper? And if we imagine having access to an electronic journal? Having a wallpaper that functions as an authentic light curtain, or that functions as a giant display? They have found themselves a way to communicate with your food packaging from the supermarket on its contents and conditions? It seems fiction, but this research team took the first step for all this pass to be true!

Technology makes way for futuristic devices: animated posters and newspapers, self-updating business cards and food labels. Among the many applications, the following are included: biosensors, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in parcel transport and stock management, disposable electronic devices made from recycled paper, etc.

In order to be introduced in the market will Paper-e® be licensed, sold or will it be a spin-off product?

There are several factors to be considered when defining a business strategy based on IP, namely the most appropriate option for its economic exploitation, taking into account its future profitability. However, one of the objectives of the research team is creating value with Paper-e®. For all this can actually be achieved, research alone is not enough. You must know how to exploit and enhance these concepts and in this context, technology transfer managers have a crucial and fundamental role.