Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen
Mike drives initiatives, agreements and relationships that catalyze the commercialization of UC Berkeley innovations, and support the funding of campus research (that leads to innovations).  In this role, Mike collaborates with UC Berkeley researchers, startups, established companies, entrepreneurs, investors and IP attorneys. Mike has worked with over 50 startups, and he has spearheaded the licensing of innovations in numerous areas including biofuels, photovoltaics, medical devices, wireless sensors, semiconductors, software, nano technology and biomimetic inventions. 

Mike has been named a recipient of the UC Berkeley 2012 Chancellor's Outstanding Staff Award for: (1) developing unique strategies (i.e. the 4Ms) to maximize the commercialization of UC Berkeley innovations; (2) growing Berkeley's hyper-local innovation ecosystem in ways that can bolster the University's research enterprise and education mission -- as well as drive local economic vitality; and (3) fundamentally changing the perception of Berkeley's IP practices among faculty, entrepreneurs and investors.
Mike ran UC Berkeley's Office of Technology Licensing from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2010. Under Mike's leadership, the office's key performance metric -- the number of commercial IP rights agreements -- grew steadily (despite the recession and furloughs). Mike introduced to the office a patent decision making protocol along with financial tools, management oversight and transparency that enabled the office to cut costs and increase income by almost $1 million. Mike also introduced to the office a collegial approach to delegating workload to his staff, and a collegial approach to vetting key IP decisions. Mike's management activities are highlighted in the office's Fiscal Year 09 Annual Report, and Fiscal Year 08 Annual Report
Mike has published six peer-reviewed journal articles related to managing university IP, commercializing university innovations, and leveraging university research to drive economic development. His research on how university innovations get commercialized led to his conceptualization of the 4Ms of university innovation commercialization (morphed, mined, milked, and marketed) -- a framework for establishing and refining university strategies, policies and practices.

Mike's initiatives include co-founding the Berkeley Startup Cluster, and the QB3 East Bay Innovation Center -- a wet lab startup incubator for bioscience companies in West Berkeley. Mike conceived, co-championed and was the founding director (part-time) of the award winning Berkeley Skydeck -- an information technology-oriented startup accelerator in Downtown Berkeley. Mike also has been on the steering committees for the East Bay Green Corridor, and UC Berkeley's Cleantech-to-Market program.

In 2013, Mike championed, authored and transacted the first University Startup Accelerator Stock Equity (U-SASE) agreement. The U-SASE agreement provides UC Berkeley with stock in startups that participate in the University's startup accelerator program -- such as the Foundry@CITRIS.

Prior to his leadership on the management of IP at UC Berkeley, Mike held board, executive, product management, marketing, business development and engineering positions at high tech companies including HP, Sun, Mips, SGI, Netpulse and Peak Democracy. Mike has co-founded two technology-based companies, and he has MBA and engineering degrees from Harvard and Tufts.

Mike, his wife and two children live in Berkeley where he is the Chairperson of the City's Zoning Adjustments Board, and a Board Member of the Claremont Elmwood Neighborhood Association.