If you have an idea that you think might be patentable or otherwise protectable (e.g., through copyright protection), first contact any of the OTT staff members. The next step is to fill out an Invention Disclosure Form. We need this form to identify inventions developed under federal sponsorship. Federal law requires that the university notify the government of inventions made under federally supported research.
The invention disclosure also performs another legal function. It serves as an assignment from the inventor(s) to the university. Formalizing this transfer of ownership means that the university can act as Power of Attorney in future patent prosecution-related activities. For further information about the ownership of intellectual property developed at the university, please see Chapter 5: , Employment Agreement Regarding Intellectual Property: Faculty-Staff Handbook.
Not every invention submitted to the OTT will be successfully commercialized. Even successful commercialization cases can take years to complete. During this time, some of the team members invariably move on to other career paths. It makes sense for the research team to agree upon a royalty division among themselves while still employed or attending the university and document that in the invention disclosure form. For details concerning the university’s policies regarding royalties, please see Chapter 5: , B-4, Royalties and Income, Faculty-Staff Handbook.