The The Commercialization Process (also known as technology transfer process) begins when an inventor files an Invention Disclosure Form with the CRI. The first phase of the tech transfer process is to review the invention disclosure form and any additional supporting documents. Typical submissions may include a thesis, a conference paper, experimental data, Capstone project reports, and the like. It is critical that the inventor notifies us ahead of time if there will be a public disclosure of materials in the near future.
After the CRI receives a complete package of information from an inventor, we review the materials to determine if there is sufficient detail to enable filing of a provisional patent application. One of three things happens next:
(1) we file a provisional patent application on the inventor's behalf;
(2) we ask the inventor for supplemental information; or
(3) the University declines to pursue a patent application on the idea.
If we file a provisional patent application, we have documented ownership of the inventor's ideas with the patent office as of the application’s filing date. This allows us a one-year period to determine, from a patentability and commercialization perspective, whether we can convert the provisional patent application to a non-provisional application. During this time period, we work on developing commercial partners for the invention, and conduct an in-depth patentability evaluation. We can also provide advice on trademarks and trade secrets.
If at some point before the end of the one-year grace period, the University decides that it is unable to convert the provisional patent application, the inventor will be notified and the invention will be returned to the inventors. Similarly, if a non-provisional patent application is filed and the University later decides to abandon further prosecution of that application, the inventive rights will be returned to the inventors.
Finally, if a patent issues and can be licensed, marketing efforts may generate licensing revenue or result in a spinout, in which case inventors are generally entitled to receive a portion the royalty fees (please see the Faculty Handbook for more information). The CRI will also provide business services and support to startups.
While this process is fairly straightforward, we welcome the opportunity to speak to our inventors in greater detail about the process.