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.

4. Provisional Decision
5. Marketing and Outreach
7. Commercialization and Patenting
8. License Revenue
Innovators Toolkit
Find Funding
Patent and Copyright Policy
Intellectual Property Glossary
Faculty Conflict of Commitment and Interest Policy
Royalty Distribution Overview
Capstone Protocol Overview
  • Month 1

    Initial Review
    If Yes, move to next stage.

  • Month 2 - 8

    Marketing and Outreach
    Provisional Filing Decision
    Full Filing Decision
    If Yes, move to next stage.

  • Month 9+

    Ongoing Patent Prosecution


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. 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.

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, 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.

Do I have to fill out an invention disclosure form?

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.

How do I fill an invention disclosure on the Inventor Portal?

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. 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.

Can I submit additional information on with the Invention Disclosure Form?

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.

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 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.

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

The university has a royalty sharing policy that is further delineated in the Faculty Handbook.

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

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.

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.

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
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.