Welcome to the Intellectual Property Portal

We are focused on identifying promising innovations at the idea stage more than ever before. If you are a member of the UM community, we encourage you to submit your ideas through this portal—whether they’re fully realized or not.

Submit an Idea

Do you have an idea still in the planning stages? Think of the idea portal as the easy first step in connecting with our office.
Submit
Download a step-by-step instructions for using the web-based idea form.

Submit an Innovation Disclosure

A formal innovation disclosure is ultimately required to commercialize any technology. Have you already submitted an idea and are now ready for the formal innovation disclosure?
Submit
Download a step-by-step instructions for using the web-based idea form.

Our Commercialization Process

Step 1: Submit an Idea
With the full implementation of the America Invents Act in March 2013, it is critical for the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) to engage with inventors as early as possible. To that end, please submit your ideas through the link above. Once received, your idea will be assigned to a case manager who will contact you to develop a better understanding if your idea. As your idea becomes more fully realized, you will be invited to submit a formal invention disclosure.

Step 2: Submit an Invention Disclosure
For an invention to be patentable it must be novel, non-obvious and useful. There are three ways you can recognize whether you have an invention:
• Your discovery meets a need or solves an existing problem;
• You have promising scientific data or a working prototype device; and
• You are not aware of prior art. Prior art is information (e.g. publications, posters, abstracts etc.) which describes any part of your discovery that is publicly available.

Some important issues to keep in mind while filling the IDF:
• Who is an inventor? An inventor is the individual who contributed to the intellectual inventive process and not necessarily the one who assists in reducing it to practice. A patent is not a scientific publication and an inventor cannot be equated to a co-author. An inventor must have contributed to the novelty of the invention.
• What is prior art? Do you know of any publications or public disclosures (including your own) in the field that may describe a similar concept or discovery? If so, you are obligated to disclose this information. Have you disclosed your invention to the public (published paper, poster presentation, public presentation at a meeting, etc.)?
• Stage of development: Is there a prototype, is there research data, is this an idea, etc.?
• What alternatives exist for your invention in the marketplace today?

Step 3: Opportunity Assessment
Your invention will be assessed for commercial viability. Your case manager will evaluate your invention from the perspective of its technology, product and market opportunity, patentability, competition, and research direction.

This step normally takes one to two months and includes an evaluation of:
• Prior art - When was this concept first disclosed?
• Freedom to operate - Are there other patents that might obstruct the commercialization of your invention?
• Commercial opportunity - While some inventions may be scientifically innovative, their commercial applicability may be limited.
• Stage of development - You might have an excellent idea with commercial potential but it may take many years to establish proof of principle.

Step 4: Patent and Copyright Committee Decision
Once your innovation has been assessed, it will be presented to the Patent and Copyright Committee (PCC), which typically meets on the fourth Wednesday morning of each month. Depending on the analysis, you and your team may be invited to present your invention and answer the committee’s questions. You will be notified by email regarding the place and time of the meeting.

The PCC will decide whether to:
• File a patent application and commercialize your invention;
• Wait for additional enabling data or a full length manuscript;
• Release the invention rights to the inventor(s) with certain conditions; or
• Release the invention rights to the funding agency.

If the decision is made to file a patent application you will continue to work with your case manager and a patent attorney to develop the best possible application. This step normally takes about two months.

Step 5: Commercialization
Remember, it is in everyone’s best interest for your invention to be commercialized if it has sufficient marketable value. To this extent, if the patent and copyright committee chooses to file a patent application on your behalf, the OTT will make every effort to find a commercial partner with whom to license your invention (or help you develop a start-up strategy).

OTT will work with you to develop promotional and educational materials and to identify organizations that are likely to be interested in investing in your invention. We will have twelve months after filing of the provisional patentapplication to complete development of your invention and to establish commercialization partners. If a company is interested in your technology, OTT will facilitate collaboration between you and the company through a variety of contracts. The first contract is usually a Confidential Disclosure Agreement which allows an open exchange of information without losing patent rights. The ideal situation is when a company sponsors research in your laboratory for a collaborative product development effort and licenses the patent application to gain commercialization rights. OTT will make the contract process as seamless as possible.