Patenting Process

Obtaining patent protection is a critical step in commercializing your invention. The Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) assists researchers at the George Washington University (GW) to patent their innovative technologies. It is critical that you involve TCO as early as possible to protect your invention. TCO will be involved throughout the process to help where needed and will continuously evaluate the invention throughout the patent application and licensing process.

TCO's Patent Process Illustrated Timeline (PDF) provides a step by step guide to obtaining patent protection.

Technology Commercialization Process

Step 1: Research

You will come up with your ideas through experiments or data, research materials, software code or program, and lab notebooks.

Step 2: Meet with TCO

You need to contact TCO before making your invention or discovery public (e.g. presenting at a conference, submitting a manuscript for publication), also know as public disclosure.

Step 3: Make Intellectual Property (IP) Disclosure

Send your completed IP disclosure form (DOC) to tco@gwu.edu and we will evaluate your invention or discovery.

Step 4: Evaluation

TCO reviews your invention for patentability and commercial potential, and discusses evaluation results with you, the inventors. To evaluate your invention, we need your invention disclosure, relevant manuscripts, experimental data or poster presentations. TCO will perform a patent search and a literature search to determine novelty; market research to determine commercial viability; and identification of potential licensing partners.

Step 5: IP Protection

If TCO determines your invention is patentable, we will initiate IP protection by filing a patent application. We will help you define your invention as a patent, copyright, trademark or trade secret. During this phase, TCO also works with patent lawyers and will cover the cost of your patent application.

Step 6: Marketing

Once your patent application is filed, TCO can begin marketing your invention through multiple channels to seek and secure licensing agreements that will potentially lead to further development and commercialization of the technology. TCO develops the commercialization strategy to license to existing companies or form at start-up companies.

Step 7: Licensing

TCO negotiates the terms of a license agreement, which requires the licensee to bring technology and products to the marketplace.

Step 8: Commercialization

The licensee invests in technology, develops and sells products.