Disclosure, Licensing, and Patenting
The disclosure process begins with the inventors' contacting the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) for an informal review of the circumstances and subject matter of the invention. It is important to contact the TTO as early as possible after an invention is made and before it is described outside the group of inventors as there may be substantial consequences in public disclosure for the legal rights involved. If a determination is made that the invention may be patentable, the TTO will request the inventor to submit the WPI Invention Disclosure Form and to complete (often with TTO) assistance any other necessary initial disclosures that may be required, e.g. notification of joint institutional partners or sponsors with rights in the invention.
A carefully completed WPI Invention Disclosure Form allows the TTO to begin an effective evaluation of the invention's potential value as an intellectual property asset of the university and to initiate the patenting process if indicated. If the university does proceed, the TTO will maintain dialogue with the inventor and a patent attorney to develop a patent application. Patent issuance can take anywhere from 18-26 months during which time the TTO will initiate marketing efforts typically in coordination with other university centers and institutes to commercialize the invention. Various commercialization paths may be pursued, but all involve some type of licensing of patent rights.
Licensing technologies is a challenging step in the process of technology transfer. Inventors are highly encouraged to build relevant industry networks, publish articles about the technology, and attend conferences and tradeshows to promote the technology. Remember - disclose to TTO first.
Please contact Michael B. Manning regarding the disclosure process at ext. 5834.