Helping To Protect Your Ideas
Many great Institute inventions never realize their full potential of improving or saving lives because their inventors fail to protect them. Most Institute inventions are at a very early development stage and require substantial investment of resources before they are of practical use. Without suitable safeguards, these investments are never made and many great ideas wither in the lab. Roswell Park's Technology Transfer Office (TTO) protects the Institute’s intellectual property (IP) in order to drive the early-stage inventions to useful products or services benefiting the public. Working with Roswell Park’s TTO, RPCI researchers can enhance the impact of their work on their community, the Institute and their own labs. Below we discuss how the technology transfer process works and how this benefits researchers.
The greatest benefit of technology transfer is the satisfaction of seeing your ideas improving the lives of the people around you. Most researchers choose academic careers to help the public good. Technology transfer helps ensure your hard work enriches you, your lab, the Institute, and the general public. In addition, although your invention belongs to the Institute, you are usually entitled to 40 percent of the revenue. The technology transfer process can also be the catalyst for collaborative research between you and scientists in industry. As you work with corporate scientists, new opportunities can be created through corporate sponsored research funds as well as access to private research equipment, materials and resources.
Protect What Is in Your Head
The TTO works to select the best means to protect your intellectual property. To obtain a patent the invention must be novel, useful and not obvious. These prerequisites seem simple but can be deceptive in practice. We also help research the commercial market potential for the invention and determine whether a patent application would help or hinder the development of the invention.
The short answer is — as early as possible. Public disclosures through publications, conference presentations, abstracts for a talk, or conversations with a person not involved in creating the invention potentially jeopardizes your patent rights.
The process begins when you submit an Invention Disclosure (ID) Form to the TTO. It will ask you straightforward questions and allow us to start a conversation with you to better understand the invention and its potential commercial applicability. After we receive the disclosure, we evaluate the invention for both IP protectability and its marketability. If the intellectual property is sound and there is commercial market potential for the invention, the TTO may file a patent application. Patents take two or more years to be processed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patenting costs will be paid by the Institute.
The TTO drafts Confidentiality Agreements (CDA) and Material Transfer Agreements (MTA) to our researchers to protect your IP when you talk about or send your invention(s) to outside groups.
In some cases, inventors may wish to form a start-up company. The TTO can help guide you through the initial phases. By securing IP protection and licensing it to you on terms designed for start-up companies, we provide a strong foundation for your effort.
As a Roswell Park employee, any inventions you make using Institute facilities belong to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and must be disclosed to the TTO. You also are required to support the patent application process by providing any necessary documentation requested. However, you still remain in the driver’s seat scientifically. The TTO will not stand in your way in terms of publishing or promoting your work. We encourage inventors to work with us during the technology transfer process for a stimulating and enriching experience but we respect the wishes of those who prefer to concentrate on other matters.