For Faculty 

Reporting an Invention

So you’ve been working hard on an ingenious project all this time to meet an end goal – either to fulfill a grant deadline, meet a publishing requirement, or just to meet your own intradepartmental needs. But there are further benefits to your invention than just the initial reason for development, and before you disclose the idea to your peers and the public, you must disclose it to the right group here at the University: the Tech Transfer Office.

This group will help you protect your ideas, if necessary, and relay the information about your invention to any sponsoring agencies you may have.  When you created this invention, or intellectual property, under the employment or support of the University, you gained a colleague. The University is now owner of the invention, but can provide patent, copyright, or trademark protection to this invention. 

It is important that ALL inventions developed by University employees be reported to the University. There are certain legal requirements that the University is held to regarding intellectual property. As such, even those inventions that are created on weekends, on leave (including sabbaticals), at home or during consulting work must be reported to the Tech Transfer Office. The idea should be submitted using one of the Intellectual Property Disclosure Form.

The foundation of this overarching ideology was laid by the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which supports technology transfer from universities, and also dictates the procedures for rights to those inventions. For more information on the Bayh-Dole Act, go to http://www.b-d30.org

Do I have an invention?

  1. Is it novel and unknown by others?
  2. Is it a non-obvious solution to others in my field?
  3. Is it useful?

In the case of patentable inventions, such as for objects, designs, methods or plants, the US Patent Office has three basic requirements, listed above. The most difficult hurdle in the field of education is to avoid making public these patentable ideas, before formal protection of the idea is secured.

If you are planning on publishing or presenting the details of your invention (including thesis work), please provide ORTT with a completed invention disclosure form as soon as possible prior to the disclosure.