The Technology Transfer Process
The first step in the technology-transfer process is to discuss your idea with UTRF. Once you (inventor) contact UTRF, one of us will come to your office or lab to learn about your idea, or you can come to our office. Either way, the key first step is to make sure that we understand your data, idea and goals.
The second step in the process is to file an invention disclosure. Filing a disclosure notifies your department and college of your idea, lets the Office of Research Administration determine if your research sponsors have any claim on your idea, and eventually results in the formal UTRF management assignment of your idea.
Although you may have already met with UTRF, once an invention disclosure is completed, the associate assigned to your invention will complete a formal and more-detailed evaluation of your idea. During this evaluation, the associate will study the patentability, commercial opportunity, and barriers to market for your invention. (See a more detailed list of criteria here.) This will often involve several rounds of dialogue with you, the inventor, since the associate will be learning about a new field in which you are the expert. Each evaluation, along with a “go” or “no-go” recommendation is presented to the entire UTRF office for discussion. Inventions also may be presented to external consultants for additional feedback if the internal evaluation is uncertain.
If the invention is accepted for management, UTRF will engage a patent attorney. The attorney will work with you to draft a provisional patent application.
At the same time that you are working with a patent attorney on a provisional patent application, your associate at UTRF will work with you to create a marketing abstract. The marketing abstract is a short, non-confidential description of your invention that will be used to advertise your work and attract a commercial partner. In addition to targeted marketing, your marketing abstract also will be posted in the “Technologies for Licensing” section of our website so that potential partners can find your invention.
Once a commercial partner is interested, UTRF will work with management at the company to complete an agreement granting the company with the right to begin commercial development of your invention. The exact scope of the agreement will depend on the technology and the company; agreements may be exclusive or non-exclusive, worldwide or domestic, encompassing all potential products or limited to a specific field of use.
During the period when a license is active, UTRF will monitor the partner to ensure that they are living up to all of their contractual obligations and, when necessary, will take legal steps to enforce the contract. UTRF also collects any payments due under the license, and distributes royalties to the inventors as specified by the UTRF revenue sharing policy.