Why to Disclose Your Invention or Technology
Disclosing to the Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) enables you to benefit from our numerous services. The purpose of the disclosure is to record what was invented and the circumstances under which the invention was made. The disclosure form provides the basis for a determination of patentability and for drafting a patent application. It is a legally important document which should be prepared carefully.
After disclosing to TCO, experienced staff perform the following activities on behalf of GW inventors:
- Evaluate new ideas for patenting and marketing potential.
- Manage the legal process of protecting intellectual property
- Pay for legal costs
- Negotiate with 3rd parties (co-inventors' institutions)
- Market the intellectual property to companies and entrepreneurs
- Negotiate licenses to companies and manage these long-term relationships
Commercialization success leads to:
- Income for inventors and for their departments and schools
- Impact on society by reaching customers and patients
- Real-world training for student inventors that improves career opportunities
The George Washington University (GW) faculty and employees are obligated to disclose any inventions to GW. Students who receive support for their studies from the government, or use significant GW resources, are also required to disclose their inventions to GW.
How to Disclose
An invention is a novel and useful idea relating to processes, machines, articles of manufacture and compositions of matter. It may cover such things as new or improved devices, circuits, systems, chemical compounds, drugs, etc. Some technologies with commercial utility may not be inventions, but you should still disclose them. Examples of such technologies include some software, integrated circuit designs, biological organisms, and the like.
To be patentable, the invention must not be obvious to a worker with average skills in that particular technology. In addition, it must not have been used by others in this country, or patented or described in a printed publication anywhere, prior to the date of conception.
You will need:
- Inventor(s) contact information
- Description of the invention
- Public disclosures to date, as well as anticipated
- Source of funding for the research.
When to Disclose
An Intellectual Property (IP) Disclosure should be made when something new and useful has been conceived or developed. There are three stages of disclosure:
Disclose Early: Disclosing before publishing or presenting enables stronger IP protection! It is never too early to contact someone in TCO about your idea. Some patent rights will be lost once a paper has been published and/or a poster is presented. It's imperative that you connect with TCO before the submission or presentation. If this information has already been released to the public, contact us as soon as possible so that we can discuss your options.
Your invention does not have to be a finished product, and you don't need to prepare a formal presentation or write-up. Contact us if:
- You have an exciting new research proposal.
- You have preliminary data, manuscript drafts or results.
- You plan on presenting or publishing the new invention.
- You aren't sure whether or not you have a patentable invention.
Disclose Continuously: After disclosing your invention, inform TCO of any major breakthrough experiments, publications, and improvements to your technology.
Keep us updated on all stages of development:
- research proposal/grant award
- prototypes developed
- additional data
- draft manuscripts or draft poster presentations
Some improvements and updates may not require a new GW Invention Disclosure Form. TCO will advise you when a new form is appropriate.