The Office of Innovation Commercialization

FAQs

What is the role of the Office of Innovation Commercialization (OIC)?

The main role of OIC is to facilitate commercialization of research results and University’s innovative technologies for the public good and maximize income to the school and faculty through licensing and other commercial agreements. Our main functions are consulting on intellectual property and technology transfer, receiving and reviewing all invention disclosures, determining patentability and assessing commercial potential of the disclosed inventions, administrating the patent process, negotiating deals through confidential disclosures and licensing agreements and supporting UNCG inventors in establishing start-up companies to commercialize their inventions.

What is the benefit of disclosing an invention to OIC?

Disclosing your invention to OIC is an important part of protecting the rights to your discovery. One of the most important benefits may be the commercialization of your technology through OIC’s efforts in patent and licensing of the discovery. Other benefits through OIC’s marketing efforts include

Does public disclosure interfere with patenting?

To protect the patentability rights to your invention, it is important that you contact OIC as early as possible prior to public disclosure. Public disclosure includes Journal Articles, Publication on the Web, Conference Abstracts, Oral Presentation or Poster Presentations. Foreign patent rights are lost immediately upon public disclosure. In the U.S., you have one year from the date of the public disclosure to file a patent application.

What is an invention?

An invention is a novel and useful idea resulting from study and experiment, and may relate to a process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter, or any improvement thereof.

Who owns the invention?

Intellectual properties developed by university faculty and within the scope of their employment or through the use of their time, facilities, equipment or materials owned or paid for by the university are considered by Federal patent and copyright law to be the property of the university.

Inventions or technology developments made by a student who is supported by the university (i.e., by a fellowship) or employed by the university or is working voluntarily on a faculty member’s research and makes substantial use of university resources, are considered by Federal patent and copyright law to be the property of the university.

Who decides whether or not to file patent applications?

Office of Innovation Commercialization professionals. Such decision is based on the scope of the invention, its patentability, and commercial merit. UNCG Patent Committee may be asked to review the OIC’s decision to patent.

What is a patent?

A U.S. Patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor(s) , issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A patent permits its owner to exclude members of the public from making, using, or selling the claimed invention.

How do patents promote economic development?

In return for the monopoly, the inventor must make known the details of the invention so that others can seek improvements or new uses. The inventor gains by exclusive access to the invention, and society gains by using the detailed description of the invention to further advance technology.

What is a copyright?

Copyright is given to an author, artist, composer or programmer to exclude others from publishing or copyrighting literary, dramatic, musical, artistic or software works.

How long does it take to obtain a patent? What is the cost of obtaining a patent?

The entire process may take from two to six years. The cost of a U. S. patent typically ranges from $15,000 to $50,000.

Who pays for the patent?

If the University is interested in the invention, then all legal expenses and fees for the preparation, prosecution and maintenance of patent filings are paid by OIC. However, OIC tries to recover such costs from research sponsors or licensees.

Is computer software patentable?

Under current U. S. law, not all computer software may be patentable. It is, however, covered by the Copyright Act of 1976, under which computer software (as well as all other copyrightable work) is protected by Federal Statute from the moment it is “fixed” in a tangible form.

How do I search for prior art patents?

You can use the sites listed below to search for prior art patents:

How can I obtain additional funds to finance the project (for example, develop a prototype, commercialize invention, start a business based on the technology)?

You can use the sites listed below:

These are some local organizations providing assistance to researchers and small businesses:

UNCG and NC A&T Technology Transfer Partnership at the Nussbaum Center

Piedmont Entrepreneurs Network

How is the license income distributed to faculty?

After provision for University expenses incurred by it in obtaining and maintaining patents and/or in marketing, licensing, and defending patents, the inventor’s share of such revenues received by the University shall normally be as follows:

NET REVENUE INVENTOR(S) DEPARTMENT SCHOOL OR COLLEGE UNCG
First $500,000 50% 15% 10% 25%
$500,001 – $1,000,000 50% 10% 5% 35%
Above $1,000,000 50% - - 50%

TOTAL NET REVENUES RECEIVED OVER THE LIFE OF THE INVENTION