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Tech Transfer

Tech Transfer is the process of transitioning technologies from the research lab to the marketplace.

Technology transfer (or tech transfer), in the context of research institutions, is the process by which new inventions and other innovations created in those institutions’ labs are turned into products and commercialized. This is typically done in two ways: through licensing patented intellectual property to corporations, and the creation of start-up companies, which also often license the IP created by faculty.

All intellectual property developed by ISU faculty, students, and staff falls under the ISU intellectual property policy ISUPP 7010.

Once you have created a knowledge, idea, invention, technology, or whatever it may be, submit an Invention Disclosure Form*. This form describes the invention in detail: its stage of development, whether any external funding was used in the creation of the invention, the name of the inventor(s), if there have been any public disclosures or publications. Public disclosure has to be enabled for it to count. Once someone publicly discloses, they have one year to file a patent application. Putting a poster in a hall, and having a PowerPoint that you use to introduce it with are all considered public disclosures. This process must be done for one invention at a time. 

*contact Pati Spotts for a copy.

The Office for Research reviews the invention disclosure for its patentability, potential commercial value, and for the best modes of intellectual property protection and commercialization. A meeting will be set up with the researcher to discuss the invention. If the invention is useful, novel, and non-obvious to those skilled in the field, then a decision is made on whether or not to file a patent application.

If it is deemed patentable, you will need to file a provisional patent application first. In the US, there is a grace period of one year between the public disclosure of an invention and the deadline for filing a patent application. However, the US follows a first to file rule. The patent is granted to the inventor who is the first to file a patent application, regardless of the date of invention. If you file before a competitor, you get the patent. 

All patentable inventions must be:

Described in sufficient detail so that  one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention
Claimed in clear and definite terms

What can’t be patented?

Laws of Nature
Physical Phenomena
Abstract ideas
Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works –these would fall under copyright protection

For more information on patents visit US Patent and Trademark Office at uspto.gov.

Once a patent application has been filed, an assessment of the technology will be done. Details from this type of assessment can then be used to market the technology.

ISU’s goal is to put our inventions and discoveries in the hands of the public. Patented inventions are transferred to industry through a variety of licensing arrangements.

If a licensing agreement has been executed, the University would monitor the licensee’s business development and compliance of performance milestones, coordinating patent prosecution, processing license income and distributing revenue according to the University’s IP Policy.