What We Do
NEU CRI Inventors

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.

Innovators Toolkit

You’ve developed a new technology, what now? Should you disclose this information to the CRI? Will you need a patent or other form of protection? What happens if Northeastern licenses this technology to an outside party? What if you want to commercialize this technology yourself?

The CRI can help you to answer all of these questions and more.

Industry Connections

The CRI is the University’s bridge to industry. We are continuously building relationships with companies to identify their key technology needs and to explore opportunities for collaboration. Our network spans across industry, from the Life Sciences to the Physical Sciences. The CRI aims not only to license individual technologies, but to form long standing partnerships with industry, leveraging the core competencies of our faculty and students.

NEU CRI Industry Connections

What is an invention?

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. §101  Inventions are protected by patents. 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 for them to obtain a license for your invention.

I am a student and I think I invented something, what do I do?

If you are an undergraduate or graduate student and your work is not supported by grants or corporate sponsorship, the rights of the invention usually belong to you. So, you can decide to protect and commercialize the invention yourself, or you can assign your rights to the University by completing an Invention Disclosure Form and begin the University’s commercialization process

Remember, protect your ideas before you publish them! if you publish before protecting your invention, the right to seek patent protection throughout the world, except for the U.S. and Canada, will be forfeited.

Please refer to the Student Handbook (“Copyrights and Patents” section) and the Capstone Protocol Overview for more information.

Do I have to fill out an invention disclosure form?

Yes, 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.

What happens after I fill out an invention disclosure form?

When we receive your form, we ensure it is complete, including all signatures of Northeastern inventors and a thorough description of the invention. Next, we log your invention disclosure into our system. It is then evaluated for its commercialization value as well as its patentability. When the evaluation is complete, one of two things will happen, (1) the University will seek patent protection on the invention; or (2) the university will return the intellectual property rights back to the inventors.

Can I submit additional information with the invention disclosure form?

Yes, within reason, the more information the better. Charts, graphs, PowerPoint presentations, photos of prototypes and papers prepared for submission can all be submitted.

What happens if the University proceeds with filing for patent protection?

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 patent attorneys, either in-house or external. 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.

How do I benefit if the University finds an industry partner for my invention?

Yes, the university has a royalty-sharing policy that is further delineated within the student handbook and faculty handbook.

What are some of the important things I should know about patent rights?

The most important thing to remember about preserving your patent rights is to not disclose any details about your invention until you have filled out an invention disclosure form. Do not publish your ideas in a formal paper. Do not publish them on the web. Do not talk about your invention with other people.

What if I want to talk about my ideas with a potential business partner? Can the CRI help me with this?

Yes, the University can help ensure you have entered into a confidentiality agreement before discussing your invention. In addition, the invention disclosure form provides a space for you to enter any potential industry leads who may be interested in your invention.

What if I want to start a company around my invention?

Increasingly, entrepreneurial faculty and students are starting companies to commercialize their inventions. If you would like more information about forming a startup, please contact Joel Bresler.

Innovation Ecosystem

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.

Northeastern University Idea Venture Accelerator

Northeastern University Entrepreneurs Club

Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education

Northeastern University Health Sciences Entrepreneurs

Northeastern University Sherman Center


Social Enter­prise Insti­tute (SEI)

Northeastern University Venture Mentoring Network

Center for Family Business