Invention Disclosures

A Guide to Intellectual Property and Commercialization at UGA

An invention disclosure is a written description of your technology that you provide to Innovation Gateway. The invention disclosure should list all sponsors of the research and include all of the information necessary to begin pursuing intellectual property protection, marketing and commercialization activities. The invention disclosure is treated as confidential information. Based on the invention disclosure, Innovation Gateway may generate a non-confidential description of your technology in order to market it to potential licensees. Once potential partners have been identified and confidentiality agreements have been signed, more detailed exchanges of information can be made.

Under the UGA IP Policy, all All UGA employees sign a form acknowledging this responsibility during the onboarding process. When you disclose your technology to Innovation Gateway, it starts a process that could lead to protection and commercialization of your technology. If the research resulting in your findings was funded by the government or another sponsor, an invention disclosure is important for Innovation Gateway to fulfill our obligations to the sponsor.

If you believe your discovery may solve a significant problem and/or have potential commercial value, please submit an invention disclosure. If you are unsure, contact Innovation Gateway to discuss the invention and strategies for commercialization.

You do not have to disclose works of authorship such as

  • articles for publication in scholarly or professional journals, or
  • instructional or research materials not for commercialization, intended only for UGA internal use, and that will be distributed for free to the UGA community.

You should submit an invention disclosure form as soon as the inventive concept can be fully and precisely described, even if the physical embodiment of the idea has not been realized. Whenever possible, it is best to disclose a new invention to Innovation Gateway prior to any publication or public disclosure.

Submit your invention disclosure using our online invention disclosure tool. Innovation Gateway no longer accepts PDF forms.

An invention disclosure should include a brief description or abstract describing the invention, as well as any manuscripts, drafts, figures, or white papers that go into more detail to describe that you have invented and how you invented it. Additionally, you should include your fellow inventors and the source of any funding source(s) that were used to develop your invention.

An inventor is an individual who made a creative contribution to the inventive concept. Individuals who carried out work under the direction of those who created the concept should ordinarily not be designated as inventors. Inventorship is determined by U.S. patent law. Should any questions arise regarding inventorship, those will be resolved by outside counsel.

Yes. All contributors to the ideas leading to a discovery should be mentioned in your disclosure, even if those contributors are not UGA employees. Innovation Gateway and legal counsel will determine the rights of contributors who are not UGA employees.

Often, if a faculty member is on sabbatical at another institution, he/she will be asked to sign a Visiting Researcher Agreement with the host institution. That agreement may dictate ownership to discoveries and inventions and should be reviewed by UGARF prior to signature.

Yes. Students can be inventors just like any other researcher. A student working in capacity as a UGA employee (graduate student, research assistant, etc.) will be bound by the same terms of the UGA IP Policy as the faculty member or principal investigator. However, undergraduate students or students not employed by UGA who invent something while at UGA are unlikely to have their inventions be subject to the UGA IP Policy.

Yes, if your new tools would benefit other researchers and you are interested in providing them to those researchers and other parties. Typically, research tools are materials such as antibodies, plasmids, cell lines, mice and other materials used as “tools” in the research process. Most research tools do not necessarily need to be patent protected in order to be licensed to commercial third parties or to generate revenue.

Assessment of Invention Disclosures

Licensing specialists examine each invention disclosure based on a number of factors, including:

  • novelty of the invention
  • protectability and marketability of potential products or services
  • protectability in light of any similar technologies
  • size and growth potential of the relevant market
  • amount of time and money required for further development
  • pre-existing rights associated with the IP
  • potential competition from other products/technologies.

Innovation Gateway typically supports release of software by the authors as open source, provided that the release does not allow commercial use. UGARF reserves for itself the right to issue commercial licenses. The right to issue commercial licenses is reserved to UGARF. Examples of allowed releases are the “NC” Creative Commons licenses. In fact, Creative Commons licenses are preferred over GNU and other licenses. While we suggest that releases be made under the Creative Commons CC BY NC SA 4.0 license,  it is highly advisable that you seek advice from Innovation Gateway before performing such releases.

Innovation Gateway will work with you to develop the appropriate commercialization strategy for the technology. We will try to accommodate the researcher’s commercialization wishes.