OTC helps protect and commercialize the innovation that comes from academic research at OU. We receive invention disclosures from faculty, staff and graduate students, and then evaluate those disclosures to determine potential intellectual property (IP) protection and commercialization opportunities. We license innovation to industry so they can become world-changing products and services. If the inventions are successfully licensed, royalties collected provide funding for the inventors, departments, the university as a whole, as well as a personal financial benefit for the inventors themselves.
OU faculty, staff and graduate students on OU’s three campuses are eligible to use OTC’s services.
Undergraduate student inventions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us with any questions.
The first step to interacting with OTC is to fill out a technology disclosure form. Click here to view and fill out the form. We will contact you after submission of the disclosure to begin the IP protection process and commercialization discussions.
Once you have invented or discovered something you believe to be novel, and have some preliminary information regarding its feasibility, effectiveness and/or applications, you should disclose the innovation. We suggest that you disclose to our office as early as possible to avoid any issues with intellectual property protection. The earlier, the better! If you have any questions about whether your invention merits disclosure, please contact us.
Public disclosure of any kind before patent protection will hinder or prohibit patenting efforts. Since patent protection is critical for commercialization of many technologies, we highly suggest that you contact our office well in advance of any public disclosure. Examples of public disclosures include (but are not limited to):
- Online or hard copy publications
- Private emails not subject to a confidentiality agreement
- Oral presentations
For more information view our Patent 101 Presentation.
We recognize that the core mission of a university is to perform research and disseminate new knowledge. Disclosing a technology to the University does not in any way prevent your ability to pursue publications or continued research activities.
However, as you make this important decision, please keep in mind:
- Refraining from disclosing your technology to OTC does not negate the University’s ownership rights. The technology is still an asset of OU, and cannot be freely transferred or profited from on an individual or private basis.
- A non-disclosed technology has no intellectual property protection, which can limit its ability to reach the commercial marketplace. Industry partners seek technology with competitive advantage, and protected intellectual property is a highly useful advantage. Often, industry is only willing to invest the substantial resources necessary to continue technology development in discoveries that are covered by robust IP protection. To commercialize a technology into a product or service that can truly make a difference in the world, IP protection is generally necessary.
A disclosure to OTC is the beginning of a conversation. If you submit a technology disclosure and determine that IP protection and/or commercialization is not the right path, you are under no obligation to move forward.
If the invention was created using university resources, then typically the University owns the rights to the invention. With the inventor's input, these rights can be licensed by OU to a third party through a license agreement. This third party could be a separate business entity or a university startup that the inventor is involved with. Click here to view OU's IP Policy.
The length of the process depends a number of factors, such as the specifics of the innovation and the amount of research completed before a patent can be filed. See our Technology Transfer Lifecycle for more information.
Also known as a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or confidentiality agreement (CA), a CDA is a legal agreement between at least two parties that outlines confidential information the parties wish to share with each other for certain evaluation purposes.
The agreement may be classified as unilateral, bilateral or multilateral:
- A unilateral NDA involves two parties where only one party the disclosing party anticipates disclosing certain information to the other party (the receiving party) and requires that the information be protected from further disclosure.
- A bilateral NDA involves two parties where both parties anticipate disclosing information to one another that each intends to protect from further disclosure.
- A multilateral NDA involves three or more parties where at least one of the parties anticipates disclosing information to the other parties and requires that the information be protected from further disclosure.
Submit an addendum request form in order to modify or expand the scope of a previously established Confidentiality Agreement (CA) or Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).
An MTA is a contractual agreement that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations when the recipient intends to use it for his or her own research. The MTA defines the rights of the providers and the recipient with respect to the materials, any derivatives and any resulting publication attribution.
A Data Use Agreement (DUA) is established when a party wishes to provide or recieve data for research purposes to OU, and outlines the terms and conditions for sharing and use of/access to the data. Click here to view the Data Use Agreement.