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County Council adopts effort to commercialize ideas

The Metropolitan King County Council unanimously passed an ordinance Dec. 16 that implements a pilot program to recognize King County employees for their innovative ideas developed in the workplace. This creates a path to develop any commercially viable ideas by employees and bring them to market.

Most research universities have technology transfer programs to commercialize innovative ideas but no other state, county or city is currently operating such a program.

With this ordinance, King County becomes the first jurisdiction in the nation to develop such a program. Councilmember Kathy Lambert led the way in moving this proposal to adoption.

“We have such amazing and talented employees in King County,” said Lambert. “They come up with creative and innovative ideas. I wanted a system for them to be recognized and to share in the benefits of their creativity. This would give them a path for the county to be able to market these ideas. We are leading in so many aspects and many of our ideas could be of great value all across the country.”

The ordinance also provides for an evaluation after this initial phase so any changes can be made that would further enhance the program.

“I want our hard-working, creative employees to be encouraged and rewarded for their innovation,” Lambert said. “I believe that this ordinance will, once again, demonstrate that King County is always on the forefront of creativity.”

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