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Office of Technology Development

Guiding you through the process

“The Office of Technology Development (OTD) should be contacted early in the development of the project to determine the potential for intellectual property and assure all IP rights are protected. Please contact OTD whenever you think your idea is patentable and you are considering submitting a proposal/publication or presenting to the public. Reasons for disclosing include:

Sponsor Requirements:  If the project/work has been funded by a federal agency, you are required to report the invention and USM is required to periodically file an invention report. State and private sponsors typically have similar requirements.

Publications: A publication (or presentation) describing an inventive work can be considered a public disclosure. In the United States, a patent application can be filed within one year of a publication or public disclosure; however, international patent rights will be lost.

Proposals: A research proposal in response to a Federal request is subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) once it is approved by the sponsoring federal agency. If the proposal includes details on a fully conceived idea, patent rights can be lost. 

Commercialization: Typically, university technologies are in an early stage of development and require additional significant investment to develop and commercialize. Generally speaking, companies will not consider investments unless a proprietary position can be obtained with the technology through a license agreement.

Inventions should be documented using the Invention Disclosure Form (IDF). Software or other creative works subject to copyright should be documented using the Software/Copyright Disclosure Form (SDF).

Details of the forms include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The inventors (or developers)
  • The invention (or work creation)
  • Identifiable prior art
  • Commercial potential
  • Stage of development
  • Funding sources and third-party collaborators

Once the appropriate form has been completed, please send it to OTD for circulation for administrative approvals. OTD will review the disclosure for completeness, check any contracts or grants associated with the technology, and make reports to the sponsor as required. OTD will then work inventor/developer to conduct an opportunity assessment to evaluate the development level of the technology, market potential and scope and strength of the intellectual property.”

 USM Intellectual Property Policy