patenting and copyrighting

Patenting and Copyrighting

Tech transfer is a long game, but the University of Iowa Research Foundation will do all it can to make it as clear and pain-free as possible and help make sure you’re positioned for the best possible outcome, based on one-on-one meetings with you and an in-depth market and patent analysis by your personal UIRF licensing associate.

In many instances, it begins by seeking a patent for your invention or copyrighting your work.

While no two cases are alike, this is generally the path and timeline our researchers follow when pursuing patents and licenses.

Step 1: Call a UIRF Licensing Associate

Who do I contact?

  • If this is your first time contacting the UIRF, email or call 319-335-4546.
  • If you’ve been assigned a personal UIRF licensing associate, feel free to contact him or her directly; if you’ve forgotten who your associate is, go hereto search for your contact by your name and area of research.

When can I expect a response?

  • Someone with the UIRF will respond within two business days.

Step 2: Submit Your Invention

How do I do this?

  • Click here to jump to the online invention disclosure submission form (also available on every page within the UIRF site)

Step 3: Meet with Your Personal Licensing Associate

What will we discuss?

  • Among other things, we’ll discuss whether your submission meets the legal standards for an invention (e.g., is a device, material, or method of accomplishing something), and is developed enough that you can demonstrate that it works. (If your submission does not meet those standards, we will discuss ways we can help you further develop it for future resubmission.) Alternately, it may be something that is better protected through copyright.

When will this take place?

  • Within two weeks of submitting your invention.

Step 4: Receive and Review your Personalized Patent and Market Research Report

What will this report contain?

  • Initial findings of our patent search, basic information about the market where your invention will compete, possible industry applications where your technology might be used, and other information based on questions and needs.

How long will it take to generate the report?

  • About six weeks.

Step 5: File a Provisional Patent Placeholder or Copyright

Will this mean I’ll get a patent?

  • No, this is an interim step toward that goal. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will simply record and date the submission. The filing means that anything published or filed after this date will not prevent you from getting a patent, so you can speak freely about your invention.

Is it difficult to get a copyright?

  • No. Unlike getting a patent, securing a copyright is an easy and inexpensive way to protect your work.

Why file a Provisional Patent Application rather than a Non-Provisional Patent Application?

  • It provides us with a year to do more market analysis and begin marketing your technology to potential licensees. And it provides you with a year to further develop your invention and generate data that will support your patent.

Step 6: Attend Commercialization Meeting

Who will attend this meeting?

  • You and any of your co-inventors, your licensing associate, the UIRF patent attorney, and outside experts, possibly including industry representatives, investors and entrepreneurs.

What will we discuss?

  • We’ll review information from our more-detailed patent and market analysis, including anonymous feedback from three to five industry experts; progress on your technology development; and best next steps.

When will this take place?

  • Within six months of the provisional filing.

Step 7: File a Non-Provisional Patent Application

When will this happen?

  • If the previous meeting reveals a clear path to commercialization, and patenting is determined to be the best strategy, we will file a Non-Provisional Patent Application  (or an International Application) within one year of the Provisional filing date.

What happens next?

  • We typically won’t hear back from the USPTO for at least two years from the time we file. In the meantime, we will continue marketing your invention and help you build industry partnerships–or even start your own company.
  • Important: Once the USPTO begins reviewing your application, don’t be surprised if it’s initially rejected; it happens almost all the time. Our legal counsel will then likely ask you for input to help them argue your case.

Step 8: Final Patent Issuance