UW Tech Transfer Snaps Up RealNetworks Lawyer, Microsoft Licensing Guru

1/29/09Follow @xconomy

Linden Rhoads, the high-tech entrepreneur hired last summer to help the University of Washington spin out more innovations into the business world, is bringing in new blood from the corporate world into key staff roles at her office.

The UW has recruited Todd Alberstone of RealNetworks, and Ed Cummings of Microsoft to join the TechTransfer office, Rhoads told me this morning. Alberstone, formerly an associate general counsel and chief privacy officer at RealNetworks, will be responsible for intellectual property management for the UW. Cummings, a 10-year Microsoftie who most recently was a product management director who oversaw teams of licensing pros, will be a licensing officer charged with spotting commercial potential in UW’s computer science and engineering technologies.

“We’re really excited to have brought in people with their experience,” Rhoads says. RealNetworks has a reputation for being no shrinking violet in the legal department, having sued Microsoft for antitrust violations a few years back, as well as being involved in numerous copyright disputes. Part of Alberstone’s role will be to sift through years of “legacy assets” the UW has to see what’s of value on the shelf, Rhoads says.

Cummings has at least one unique thing on his resume. “He’s the first licensing officer we’ve ever hired on a VC’s recommendation,” Rhoads says. It sounds like Rhoads is starting to bring the new culture to the UW’s TechTransfer shop that she’s been talking about for months.