Do you perform research? Have you ever wondered what to do when you make a novel discovery? While your instinct may be to publish such findings quickly, there are oftentimes when a different perspective on invention management could yield greater scientific impact and mitigate potential risks. To this end, the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) is here to advise all researchers on the best pathway(s) to develop and protect discoveries while maintaining the ability to publish such findings for the scientific community. The mission of the OTC is to enhance the research, education, and community development missions of the University by protecting its intellectual property, transferring its innovations to the market, and serving as a bridge between the University and business communities. Disclosing innovative research to the OTC is not only the first step to protecting any potential intellectual property (IP), but also initiates our review process: where the OTC serves to advise researchers at all stages of scientific inquiry and help guide such work towards potential commercialization.

The most important contributor to our mutual success is having innovators – UTD faculty, staff, and students – disclose their inventions early and often. Disclosing your technology to the OTC is a fairly simple process, and failing to disclose may not only conflict with UTD policy and UT System’s Board of Regents Rules on Intellectual Property, but it may also affect our ability to secure intellectual property protection for the innovation. The best practice is to submit a technology disclosure form of any possible discoveries to the OTC before revealing details to the public or commercial sectors. If you are unsure whether or not to disclose, please contact our office and we would be happy to meet with you to discuss the best course of action – a technology disclosure is not required to speak with our staff about your case.

After submitting your technology disclosure to the OTC, a licensing associate is assigned and the technology review process begins. The licensing associate will be the main point-of-contact regarding your disclosure; they work to evaluate the commercial feasibility of the technology and determine the best options for intellectual property protection (e.g., patenting). Sometimes, the OTC will request a short presentation of the technology from the inventors, in order to get a better understanding of the unique characteristics that make the discovery distinct. The OTC endeavors to confirm receipt of new technology disclosures within one day, have an initial meeting with the inventors within two weeks, and provide an IP protection recommendation within three months.  Of course, this timeline is flexible and urgent matters are processed more quickly.

In this field, we understand that every situation differs and requires a personal touch to be handled most effectively. The OTC is composed of individuals from diverse educational backgrounds in business, biophysics, engineering, patent law, and more. Our team is not only well-equipped to manage the diverse scope of research projects within our campus, but may also serve as a resource for researchers to learn more about IP policy and commercial considerations specific to their work. Please feel free to reach out to us and start your journey in commercialization today!

In our efforts to better serve the UTD community, we are continually seeking feedback regarding how we might improve. Please contact Samantha Preisser with any suggestions for future topics or with specific questions so that we may address your concerns.