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Members are asked to pay fees voluntarily, Pankin said, and the organization hasn't determined a tiered-fee structure. provided ,000 to Auto Harvest in 2011 to develop the concept of online collaboration for advanced manufacturing.

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan provided 5,000 in funding divided between two grants in 20.

A match made online Song Young is CEO of Optimal Inc., a Plymouth-based provider of engineering services and staffing to the auto sector.

He is negotiating a license agreement for two patents with the University of Michigan for his new company, Optimal Process Technologies LLC, which was founded in Plymouth in 2012. Auto Harvest offers a platform for parties to get together.

Ian Mc Clure, director of IPXI, said Auto Harvest has created a niche for earlier-stage tech collaboration and will create a funnel to IPXI as the technology advances.

"For every R&D stage, there's a need; companies are asking, 'Do I spend R&D on developing this technology or look for what's already out there? IPXI launched its first licensing deal recently, involving 600 patents associated with organic light-emitting diode technologies for display screens from Koninklijke Philips N. The licenses are being sold as five square meters of OLED panels per license, which is enough for 700 smartphones, Mc Clure said.

Pankin said one advantage of being a nonprofit is that companies like IPXI aren't seen as the enemy.

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Auto Harvest is entering a competitive landscape between IP marketplaces, but may carve out its own niche, said Jeff Sadowski, partner and IP attorney at Royal Oak-based law firm Howard and Howard Attorneys PLLC.

When the Tech Town-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit was announced in August 2011, co-founder and CEO Jayson Pankin, who previously spent seven years helping Delphi Corp.

commercialize its intellectual property and spin off for-profit companies, hoped to go from an alpha version to beta version to final version of the technology clearinghouse's website by the end of 2012.

It includes the data on the federal grants; access to a searchable database of import-export trade of more than 50 companies, including U. trade with the world; access to a database listing capabilities for North American manufacturers and distributors; a link to a patent brokerage; and contact information for area patent attorneys.

Slower than planned, the Auto Harvest Foundation is gaining traction in its goal of providing an online meeting place for automakers and auto suppliers, advanced manufacturers, universities and national labs to license or find intellectual property.

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