Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer Overview

A Guide to Intellectual Property and Commercialization at UGA

This is an informal guide for UGA faculty, staff and students. Please contact Innovation Gateway licensing managers for specific policies and detailed guidance.

Introduction to Innovation Gateway

Innovation Gateway maximizes the impact of UGA research and scholarly activity, fostering economic development at the local, national and global levels. As UGA’s integrated intellectual property licensing and startup support arm, Innovation Gateway streamlines the path from innovations in the laboratory or field to the marketplace, ensuring that UGA technologies reach their full potential for public benefit.

As part of the Office of Research at UGA, Innovation Gateway facilitates engagement with industry and the broader innovation ecosystem. Gateway seeks to promote economic development and maximize the commercial potential of discoveries emerging from UGA research, either through licensing to an industry partner or launch of a startup company. Licensing functions include evaluating UGA inventions for patentability and commercial potential, protecting intellectual property rights, negotiating patent licensing and other agreements, and facilitating strategic partnerships with industry. Gateway’s startup assistance functions include a focus on accelerating the growth of startup companies through access to mentoring, support services, seed funding and incubator space.

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind that may be protected under patent, trademark, trade secret or copyright law. Under IP law, owners may be granted certain exclusive rights to their IP. Examples of IP include inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols used in commerce.

University technology transfer is the transfer of knowledge and technology from the university to the public. Innovation Gateway most commonly transfers new innovations out of the university for the public benefit by formally licensing the intellectual property developed at UGA to third parties for product development and sales.

As part of the Office of Research at UGA, Innovation Gateway facilitates engagement with industry and the broader innovation ecosystem. Gateway seeks to promote economic development and maximize the commercial potential of discoveries emerging from UGA research, either through licensing to an industry partner or launch of a startup company. Licensing functions include evaluating UGA inventions for patentability and commercial potential, protecting intellectual property rights, negotiating patent licensing and other agreements, and facilitating strategic partnerships with industry. Gateway’s startup assistance functions include a focus on accelerating the growth of startup companies through access to mentoring, support services, seed funding and incubator space.

UGARF is UGA’s IP administration organization. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia have assigned IP developed at UGA to UGARF. Additionally, UGARF is the named party in sponsored research agreements for projects to be performed UGA.

Technology transfer can have these important impacts:

  • Societal benefits
  • Personal fulfillment for Originators
  • Professional recognition and financial benefit
  • Attracting research sponsors and external funding
  • Educational opportunities for students

Generally, the University owns IP generated by an employee while the employee works at UGA if the IP was generated through assigned University effort or by significantly using University resources (not including office space, library resources, or offline office computers). Work supported by UGA or UGARF grants is considered assigned University effort. For IP developed under a sponsored research agreement, the specific terms concerning IP ownership control. However, if the agreement is silent on ownership, the University has rights to that IP.

See the complete UGA IP Policy.

Technology is typically transferred through a license agreement, where UGARF grants certain rights to a defined technology to a third party (licensee) for a set period of time. The licensee may be an established company or a startup company. Licenses include terms that require the licensee to meet certain performance obligations and make financial payments to UGARF. As per the UGA IP Policy, these payments are shared with and also distributed to departments and administration.

The process of protecting the technology and finding the right licensing partner may take years to finish. The amount of time will depend on the developmental stage of the technology, the market for the technology, competing technologies, the amount of work needed to bring a new concept to market-ready status, any requirements for regulatory approval, and the resources and willingness of the licensees and researchers to provide feedback and assistance during both the patenting process and technology development.

Contact Innovation Gateway at 706-542-1404 or gateway@uga.edu if you think you have created or discovered something unique with commercial or research value.

Complete the Invention Disclosure Form before publicly disclosing your technology or submitting a manuscript for review and publication.

If you plan to present or discuss your technology with individuals outside of the UGA community, please notify Innovation Gateway so we can make arrangements to protect your technology. Keep Innovation Gateway informed of your upcoming publications, interactions with companies related to your technology, and contacts you believe may be interested in your technology. Furthermore, respond to Innovation Gateway and outside patent counsel requests.

Generally, a consulting agreement should have specific provisions concerning ownership of IP developed while you are consulting. If there is any conflict between your obligations under the consulting agreement or the UGA IP Policy, the UGA IP Policy takes precedence.

If UGARF chooses not to administer the invention or chooses to stop administering the invention, the rights to that invention may be assigned by UGARF to the researcher. These rights are subject to any sponsor obligations.

Contact Innovation Gateway at 706-542-1404 or gateway@uga.edu if you think you have created or discovered something unique with commercial or research value.

Complete the Invention Disclosure Form before publicly disclosing your technology or submitting a manuscript for review and publication.

If you plan to present or discuss your technology with individuals outside of the UGA community, please notify Innovation Gateway so we can make arrangements to protect your technology. Keep Innovation Gateway informed of your upcoming publications, interactions with companies related to your technology, and contacts you believe may be interested in your technology. Furthermore, respond to Innovation Gateway and outside patent counsel requests.