Working with Innovation & Intellectual Property
In general, the process of working with IIP to use intellectual property as a tool for broadening the impact of your research results begins with a conversation about your work. Sometimes IIP will seek out researchers with interesting projects, and sometimes researchers will find IIP with a particular question. We love learning about and discussing your projects, and we want to help answer the question, “What can the tool of intellectual property do for you?” If you are new to working with our office, we encourage you to come talk to us before filling out any forms to begin the more formal process.
The formal process begins with an official disclosure of the project - be it an invention, piece of software, or other copyright work. The disclosure document will define exactly what research asset(s) we are working with, and may serve as the basis for a number of further documents and legal determinations. We try to make the forms as painless as possible, but it is important to fill them out as completely as you can.
Inventions and Patents
For inventions and patents, IIP will then take a look at how difficult it might be to obtain a patent around the idea, and whether or not a patent might be helpful in promoting the use of the idea or reaching the goals of the project. The potential benefits of having a patent must be weighed against the expense and time of obtaining one. Together with the faculty and research team, IIP will make a go-no go decision within 90 days of the disclosure. If the university decides not to pursue a patent, and the faculty and other inventors wish to continue to pursue it, the ownership of the disclosure in question can be waived back to the inventor.
For copyright works, IIP will work with the faculty and research team to develop a distribution and/or licensing scheme that fits the needs of the project. This scheme could be an open source model, work through creative commons licensing, or something more custom built and tailored to the project.
For any project, IIP will work with the faculty and research team to create a development plan for using the intellectual property to achieve impact and promote the project. All projects are different, and depending on the circumstances IIP can help with: contacting companies for feedback and interest, connecting to local resources for feedback and help, performing market research for the field in question, developing strategies for rolling out research results, and in some cases providing internal support to projects to achieve a definable milestone.
When external partners are identified and engaged (and in many cases our external partners come directly from relationships the faculty already have), IIP works with the partners to develop relationships and contracts that are mutually beneficial - all with the goal of seeing PSU innovations used and ensuring that they have impact.