Protect your innovation
Success in research and technology commercialization requires your active participation in the process. Enterprise & Innovation will involve you along the way, making the endeavor a team effort.
Follow this step by step process through research commercialization to learn:
- Where to begin
- How to protect your ideas
- How to position your innovation for commercial markets
- What to expect for your efforts
The commercialization process
Observations and experiments during research activities often lead to discoveries, innovations, and inventions. It can sometimes be difficult to identify which part of a complex research effort might constitute an innovation; therefore, it is important to keep good, reliable laboratory records of your research activities. Remember, before sharing the results of any research, or publishing, it is important to ask Enterprise & Innovation whether the document or disclosure contains any innovation that could be patented, as patent rights can be lost upon publication or presentation. Enterprise & Innovation will never ask you delay publishing or presenting – our work will be based on your timeline.
2: Innovation disclosure
An innovation disclosure is a confidential document that provides Enterprise & Innovation with basic information about your innovation. Once we have received your disclosure, someone from our office will reach out to you to begin the process. An innovation disclosure should be submitted before any disclosure of your technology outside of the University community.
3: Intellectual property assessment
Enterprise & Innovation will conduct an assessment to determine whether IP protection is needed to commercialize the innovation. This involves a review of the innovation disclosure and research regarding the market, competitive technologies and prior art.
Based on the assessment, Enterprise & Innovation will determine whether it will file for patent protection. When appropriate, the University may utilize copyright or trademark rights to commercialize University innovations or works of authorship per the University Administrative Manual 6,507: Intellectual Property Policy.
5: Commercialization assessment
We aim to maximize the impact and reach of your work. Enterprise & Innovation will evaluate the global market potential of your innovation and assess regional to international opportunities with industry leading companies, entrepreneurs and investors.
6: Spin-out or partnership
Depending on the innovation, Enterprise & Innovation will help you determine a route for step 6.
- Start a spin-out company
- Find a partner to license the innovation
6a: Start a company
Certain technologies and innovations may be best suited for a spin-out company – a new company formed specifically to develop technology arising from within the University. Spin-outs may include the direct involvement of the founding researchers.
6b: Find a partner
Certain technologies and innovations may be best suited for a licensing partnership with an existing company. Enterprise & Innovation will conduct market research, develop a list of market contacts, and coordinate with the researcher to attract potential licensees.
Marketing activities may result in one or more potential partners conducting an in-depth examination of the technology and market opportunity. If a prospect wants to license a technology, they will present a plan for commercialization and negotiate business terms with Enterprise & Innovation. From there, our office prepares a formal agreement draft, negotiates and ultimately executes the license.