What We Do
The desire to have impact through research and innovations is a universal theme at Northeastern University. The Center for Research Innovation is your dedicated partner in this pursuit, offering strategic intellectual property protection, venture creation resources and access to corporate relationships. It is the goal of the CRI to provide a high level of service, and accordingly, we look forward to any questions or feedback.
Decision to Pursue Patent Protection
If the initial internal review indicates that there is sufficient commercial and patentability potential, the CRI will file a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application preserves the priority date for the invention but does not undergo substantive prosecution. In order to maintain the priority date and continue prosecution, a non-provisional patent application needs to be filed within one (1) year of the filing of the provisional application (see step #5). Not every provisional patent application that the CRI files is converted into a non-provisional application.
Decision Not to Pursue Patent Protection
If the initial internal review indicates that there is insufficient commercial potential, the inventor(s) will receive a notice that the CRI is not pursuing patent protection for their invention. Should the inventors wish to pursue patent protection on their own and at their own expense, they may contact the CRI, which will assist in this process.
If a provisional application is filed for your disclosure, the CRI Commercialization Team will begin conducting initial marketing and outreach to industry. In coordination with the inventors, we will identify key markets for the technology, as well as companies within those markets. While our primary aim is to find potential licensees for the technology, we also seek industry feedback, which we will share with the inventors. We will also use this industry feedback to help inform the decisions we make with regards to the IP.
If a non-provisional patent application is filed, the CRI Commercialization team will continue its efforts in marketing the technology to industry. Using a variety of channels, the CRI, along with its marketing partners will seek companies interested in commercializing the technology. We may help to facilitate meetings and discussions between the inventors and interested parties, and coordinate the execution of non-disclosure agreements, material transfer agreements, and license agreements. While seeking commercial collaborations with companies, we will continue to share all industry feedback with the inventors, and will use that feedback to help inform our ongoing patent prosecution decisions.
Patent prosecution will be ongoing and will require the inventor’s continued involvement with response to any office actions. Inventors will be notified of granted patents.
If a patent application (or patent) is licensed, inventors will be notified once an agreement has been finalized. Upon receipt of licensing revenue, royalties and any other revenue will be distributed in accordance with the University’s Patent and Copyright Policy found in the Faculty Handbook.
An invention is “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof…” (35 U.S.C. s. 101). Inventions can be protected by patents (and sometimes, other intellectual property rights). Patents give you the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, importing, or offering your invention for sale. The only way someone can use your invention without subjecting themselves to substantial monetary liability is by obtaining a license to your invention. An invention can range from pharmaceuticals and medical devices, to robotics and software.
If you are an undergraduate or graduate student and your work is not supported by grants, corporate sponsorship, or other funding, the rights of the invention usually belong to you and there is no obligation to disclose or assign to the university. Therefore, you can decide to protect and commercialize the invention yourself, or you can choose to disclose and assign to the university by completing an Invention Disclosure Form. It is important to note that the university does not guarantee that it will proceed with protecting and commercializing the invention, even if you decide to disclose.
Remember to protect your ideas before you publish them! If you publish or otherwise publicly disclose (i.e. a presentation at a conference) before protecting your invention, the right to seek patent protection throughout the world, except for the U.S. and a few other countries, will be forfeited.
Please refer to the Student Handbook (“Copyrights and Patents” section) and the Capstone Protocol Overview for more information. You can also contact the CRI if you still have questions.
The Faculty Handbook and the Student Handbook govern the ownership of intellectual property at Northeastern University. According to the patent and copyright policies contained within these handbooks, the university owns all intellectual property created with the use of substantial university resources.The university does not own the intellectual property of students and/or faculty that were created outside of this definition. Please see the Handbooks for further details.
When we receive your form, we ensure it is complete, including all signatures of Northeastern inventors and a thorough description of the invention. We then conduct our initial review for commercial potential and patentability and make a decision regarding seeking patent protection for the invention. You will be informed of any decision the university makes with respect to the disclosure. Please see more details in steps above.
Yes, within reason, the more information the better. Charts, graphs, PowerPoint presentations, data, photos of prototypes, and papers prepared for submission can all be submitted.
A patent application will be prepared and filed with the appropriate patent office(s) at no cost to the inventors. As inventors, you will play a role in ensuring that the patent application is complete and accurate. This will often involve working with the university’s external patent attorneys. Commercialization efforts will continue in parallel with applying for patent protection. Similarly, as inventors, you will work closely with the CRI in an effort to find industry partners for your invention. Please see more details in the steps outlined on the Inventor Page.
Yes. We strongly encourage you to contact the CRI prior to discussing your invention with a potential industry partner. This can avoid loss of patent rights, uncertainty about data ownership and other potential issues. Both the CRI and the Office of Research Administration handle non-disclosure agreements for the university, depending on the scope of the discussion. We can help you obtain such an agreement in advance of any discussions with outside parties. In addition, the Invention Disclosure Form provides a space for you to enter any potential industry leads who may be interested in your invention.
Northeastern University’s innovation ecosystem is a combination of cross-disciplinary collaboration and an entrepreneurial culture that is driven by a commitment to use-inspired research.
IDEA is a student-run venture accelerator that provides a variety of resources to Northeastern affiliated entrepreneurs who are looking to launch their own businesses. Throughout the stage-gate process we provide ventures with coaching, mentoring, in-kind services, business planning framework, and the opportunity to apply for our Gap Fund.
The Entrepreneurs Club brings together students from diverse majors to build meaningful relationships and companies. The club provides tremendous opportunities to learn outside of the classroom through real-world application.
The Club’s mantra is to “Live Your Passion!,” which means that we foster a culture where members are encouraged to seek out what they enjoy the most, and explore ways to turn their passions into ventures. Whether a member wants to start a non-profit, be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a veterinarian, everyone is welcome and can explore the diverse paths towards becoming an entrepreneur.
The Center for Entrepreneurship Education is a university-wide resource that integrates entrepreneurship and innovation courses, entrepreneurial co-ops in early stage companies, venture incubation through our on-campus venture accelerator, IDEA, and venture funding and launch by helping our entrepreneurs network into the local angel and VC community. We serve undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and alumni from every college in the university.
The Sherman Center’s mission is to enable interdisciplinary student entrepreneurship in the broadest sense by providing education on tools, concepts, and resources to foster creativity and the ability to develop commercially viable ideas.
Opening May 2014, the program’s curriculum is designed to arm engineering students with the appropriate entrepreneurial skills to successfully pitch and commercialize their innovations. Workshops and courses will be led by Northeastern faculty and innovators from industry.
The center complements Northeastern’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship on campus and will work closely with faculty in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business and IDEA, Northeastern’s student-run venture accelerator.
Scout is Northeastern University’s student-led design studio.
We are makers. Creative problem solvers who use design thinking to build groundbreaking experiences for our clients, our team, and the Northeastern community.
The Social Enterprise Institute (SEI) is grounded in the belief that business can be a powerful development tool by utilizing enterprise-based solutions to solve some of the world’s most pressing social problems. The SEI is a resource center housed in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business that empowers students to be socially motivated, global business leaders.
The Daniel J. McCarthy(s) Venture Mentoring Network was established by the generosity of Professor Daniel McCarthy and Jeff McCarthy, DMSB’77. It is a university-wide network that pairs qualified, experienced mentors with Northeastern ventures to solve business problems and guide them on successful paths.
The Northeastern University Center for Family Business is a membership organization that provides education, networking opportunities, and support to business families. The Center for Family Business helps business families identify and avoid potential pitfalls, solve complex interpersonal and family business issues, and plan for future family business success in an ever changing and increasingly more competitive environment.
The Graduate Entrepreneurship Club (GEC) is committed to finding Northeastern students with a passion for entrepreneurship and helping them nurture their ideas into a reality. We understand the difficulty in knowing where to begin and who to talk to. GEC will continue expanding its network in order to be a resource to all graduate students at Northeastern. We work closely with other organizations and help to act as a funnel to make sure every student is guided on the correct path to success.
The Global Resilience Institute is committed to informing and advancing societal resilience around the world. Individuals, communities, nations, and the systems they depend upon, can thrive only if they have the means to better withstand, recover from and adapt to the inevitable shocks and disruptive events of the 21st century. Our university-wide Institute is partnering with other leading academic research institutions, nonprofits and the public and private sectors to devise and apply practical, interdisciplinary innovations and solutions to resilience challenges.
The IP Co-Lab requires students to devote twenty hours per week to providing IP-related legal services to students, ventures and other participants in the university’s entrepreneurship and innovation eco-system under the supervision of clinical faculty and staff. The clinic includes opportunities to address issues related to IP rights, risks and transactions for individuals and ventures in the university community, to collaborate with faculty and others on IP learning modules, policies, presentations or workshops for this community, to develop practice skills, or to participate in operation of a legal services office. Enrollment is limited; preference given to students with other relevant courses or practical experience.
Origin creates an environment where motivated people from the Northeastern community can access the invaluable resources of Northeastern’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. By enrolling in the NSF I-Corps program or directly acquiring Alpha Funding, Origin ventures will gain an in-depth understanding of the complex processes behind building a company from the prototyping stage to pitching for seed funding. We provide our ventures with the tools needed to address worldly issues in innovative and creative ways. Ultimately, through their experiences in the entrepreneurial process, teams will be equipped with a sense confidence in their ability to make their vision a reality and take the next steps towards commercialization.
The Health Sciences Entrepreneurs is a group of alumni dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship in the rapidly evolving world of health care. The group, hosting events for alumni and students since 2005, has recently launched a mentoring program. To learn more about mentoring opportunities, follow the link on this site.
The George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security offers a unique, results-driven partnership solve important security, intelligence and resilience needs.
In partnership with Women Who Empower, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) functions as a structured and rigorous platform to mobilize Northeastern’s network of female founders and funders, active and aspiring to provide long-term leadership and access to capital, networks and resources across the globe. Join the network by filling out this form. Betsy Ludwig, executive director, women’s entrepreneurship can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.