3 Quick Questions: Invention disclosures

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What is an invention disclosure? When should you disclose an invention or discovery? How do you submit a disclosure? 

The KU Center for Technology Commercialization is here to help. 

Spoiler alert: In general, it's best to disclose your invention to KUCTC as early as possible — but especially before publishing a paper, presenting at a conference, demonstrating the invention to others, or collaborating with others.

Continue reading to learn more.

What is an invention disclosure?

In technology transfer, one of the first steps along the commercialization pathway is submitting an invention disclosure to the KU Center for Technology Commercialization. The invention disclosure is a document that describes an invention or discovery made by a researcher — or other individuals associated with KU — along with other relevant information such as features, potential applications, supporting data or results, and funding support.

The invention disclosure provides KUCTC with sufficient information to evaluate the potential patentability, commercial viability, and licensing opportunities associated with the invention. KUCTC will use this information to determine whether to pursue a patent application (or other avenues for protecting the intellectual property), seek out potential commercial partners, or provide guidance on other steps that may help advance the development of the invention.

When should I disclose?

In general, it’s best to disclose your invention to KUCTC as early as possible. This is because there are strict deadlines for filing patent applications, and delaying the disclosure of your invention may jeopardize our ability to obtain a patent.

Here are some general rules for when to disclose your invention:

  • Before any public disclosure: It’s important to tell us about your work before you make any public disclosures about your invention, such as publishing a paper, presenting at a conference, or demonstrating the invention to others. Once you make a public disclosure, you may have a limited amount of time (in some cases, as little as one year) to file a patent application; and in many cases our ability to protect an invention outside of the U.S. may be compromised.
  • Before collaborating with others: If you plan to collaborate with other researchers or companies on your invention, it’s best to disclose to KUCTC before you begin those collaborations. This will help ensure that any intellectual property developed during the collaboration is properly identified and protected.

Overall, it’s important to let KUCTC know about an invention as early as possible to ensure that KUCTC has the time needed to properly evaluate the invention and make recommendations to help maximize its commercial potential.

How do I submit a disclosure?

At KUCTC, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Here are a few pointers to start your disclosure process:

  • Gather information about your invention: This includes a detailed description of your invention, potential applications, and any experimental data or results. You should also include any relevant publications, presentations, or other public disclosures related to the invention.
  • Identify co-inventors: If there are any other individuals who contributed to the invention, you should identify them as co-inventors and obtain their consent to disclose the invention. This includes contributors who may be at another institution.
  • Complete the invention disclosure form: You can access fillable disclosure forms on our website. Choose the form that best fits your discovery.
  • Submit the invention disclosure: Once you’ve completed the disclosure form, submit it to KUCTC at kuctc@ku.edu. Our licensing team will review the disclosure and contact you about next steps for evaluating and protecting your invention.

We’re always excited to hear about your research and innovations, so please reach out anytime you would like to talk. Meet our staff online, and feel free to contact us at kuctc@ku.edu or by phone at 785-864-6401. We’ll be waiting to help you advance your next great idea.