University of Minnesota
Office for Technology Commercialization
http://www.research.umn.edu/techcomm
612-624-0550

Office for Technology Commercialization homeOTC

For Inventors

Steps for Reporting Inventions to OTC

Daniel Bond, Microbiology researcher


The Office for Technology Commercialization works with a variety of inventions (intellectual property, or IP). Many invention disclosures require time, research, and legal work to be fully protected. Others simply require a license agreement to be drafted for already-waiting licensees (users). The OTC seeks to serve researchers who fall into each of these categories with the two distinct IP disclosure methods outlined below. Disclosing inventors need only to complete one of these processes (Standard IP Disclosure Process OR 30 Days to a License), and OTC staff is available to help select which process is right based on individual circumstances.

Standard IP Disclosure Process

University policy requires researchers report inventions to OTC that they believe may have commercial or public value. We make this easy with three simple steps:

1. Download the confidential Intellectual Property Disclosure Form (IPDF) to report a new technology to OTC
Word DocIntellectual Property Disclosure Form [Word]

2. Complete the IPDF form

3. E-mail the completed form to umotc@umn.edu

A Technology Strategy Manager will then contact you to begin the technology evaluation process. If you want to discuss your invention or ask questions about the technology commercialization process before filling out the IPDF form, contact a Technology Strategy Manager. We are happy to meet with researchers to discuss potential inventions and answer questions.

30 Days to a License

Inventions that do not require a patent but are ready for commercialization often qualify for the 30 Days to a License Program. This program puts technology that is already complete and in use or ready for sale on a fast-track though the licensing process. Examples of appropriate inventions include:

  • The Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire was complete and had a large set of comparative data when the associated research finished. It was easily commercialized with separate licenses for academic and for-profit users.
  • A set of Digital Pathology slides was produced for lab testing, but was easily transferred into the commercial realm. With an amazing 83X resolution, the slides are now used in various educational and research environments.
  • FINPACK (a financial planning and analysis software package for agricultural applications) was originally developed for use inside the U of M, but researchers saw potential for external use as well. Already complete and in use, the program was quickly prepared for licensing to users outside of the U.

If your invention meets most of the criteria below, it is likely suited for the 30 Days to a License Program. To further explore how to commercialize your work, please use the link below to describe your invention to the OTC.

  1. Product is complete and operational
  2. You already have a set of users defined/identified
  3. You know how to deliver your invention to the buyers (online, CD, etc)
  4. You can suggest a pricing model

Click here to access the OTC’s online 30 Days to a License form. After filling out this brief form, you will be contacted by OTC staff to discuss your invention and the 30 Days to a License process.

More Information

Balancing Publishing & Patenting

Here is some important information to keep in mind when reporting inventions to OTC:

  • Researchers CAN publish and patent, it does not have to be a choice
  • Reporting technologies to OTC does not prevent researchers from publishing or talking about their research results
  • OTC works with researchers to file patents ahead of public disclosures of the invention

When to Contact or Report Inventions

Never underestimate the value and potential of your research. We are available to discuss your ideas and to help protect your intellectual property rights and those of the University. Contact one of OTC’s Technology Strategy Managers when:

  • Your research has resulted in a new discovery
  • You plan to publish or present your discovery
  • Your research has federal funding or is industry sponsored and may have resulted in intellectual property
  • You want to send research tools or materials to another institution
  • A company has contacted you and wants to learn more about your research
  • You want to start a company based on your technology

Please contact a Technology Strategy Manager if you have questions about publishing and patenting