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Invention Disclosures

What is an Invention Disclosure?

An Invention Disclosure is a written description of your invention or development provided to OTT. The disclosure lists all sources of support and includes information necessary to begin pursuing protection and commercialization activities. In order to keep all options open for pursuing patent rights, it is very important to disclose inventions prior to publication. It is also critical that you note the date of any previous or upcoming publication or other public disclosure describing the invention.

To initiate the process, submit the disclosure to the OTT. Shortly after you submit the disclosure, you will be contacted by the OTT to discuss the invention and its potential commercial applications. 


How do I know if my Discovery is an Invention?

Should I Submit an Invention Disclosure?

You are encouraged to submit an Invention Disclosure for all inventions and developments that you feel may solve a significant problem and/or have significant value. Don’t assume it is obvious or too trivial. If you are in doubt, we urge you to contact OTT to discuss your invention. We can also advise on alternatives to patenting and licensing.

When Should I Complete an Invention Disclosure?

You should complete an Invention Disclosure whenever you feel you have discovered something unique with possible commercial value or when the terms of your sponsored research require disclosure of inventions. Ideally, this should be done well before presenting the discovery through publications, poster sessions, conferences, press releases, or other communications. Once the essence of an invention is publicly disclosed (i.e., published or presented in some written form to a non-WVU audience), the potential patent rights may be limited. Be sure to inform OTT of any imminent or prior presentation, lecture, poster, abstract, website description, research proposal, dissertation/master’s thesis, publication, or other public presentation of the invention. We prefer to receive a disclosure that is “enabled”, or which includes enough description for one of your peers to make your invention.

How does OTT Assess Invention Disclosures?

OTT evaluates each invention disclosure to review the licensability of an invention. Factors in the evaluation include: the patentability of the invention; protectability and marketability of potential products or services; relationship to related intellectual property which may affect freedom to operate; size and growth potential of the relevant market; amount of time and money required for further development; pre-existing rights (also known as “background rights”) associated with the intellectual property; and potential competition from other products/technologies. We typically will consult with the inventors, patent attorneys, and industry contacts as part of this process.

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