COI and Technology Transfer
The Technology Transfer (TT) Process
- Rice professor/student conducts research and creates a new invention
- Inventors submit an invention disclosure to the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) describing what they have created
- OTT reviews disclosures and meets with inventors to discuss
- OTT advises on patenting strategy
- Inventors continue doing great research while also helping think of partners (big companies, established start-ups, their own start-up, etc.) that may be interested in licensing
- OTT meets with prospective partners and works to option or license the invention to them
When to Disclose an Invention
As soon as possible! Download the Invention Disclosure Form HERE.
A public disclosure could limit or prevent patenting your invention.
Submitting the invention to OTT is not a "public" disclosure -- OTT is there to help your invention.
What is a "public disclosure"?
There are instances of discussing your work that do jeopardize patentability. These include:
- Thesis defense and dissertation
- Publication in an academic journal
- Conference presentation describing the method or data
- Talking about the invention to a party not under a confidentiality agreement
Best Practices When Disclosing an Invention
Give OTT as much time as possible -- OTT's official turnaround time is 30 days from receiving a disclosure.
Fill out the invention disclosure in its entirety, including:
- List any prior/related work you may be aware of
- List any funding used
- List any 3rd party materials used
Include any future work planned that may be related or may turn into new inventions and/or any planned public disclosures.
The COI team will work with scholars to manage (or establish) a COI Management Plan to manage any real or perceived conflicts of interest arising from licensing.
Common TT-Related Questions
- Can students and faculty be credited as inventors of technologies?
Yes, but only if they contributed to the inventive concepts claimed in the patents.
Note: inventorship has legal implications, which, if incorrectly designated, could jeopardize the validity of a patent.
- Can students and faculty start their own start-ups and license technology they invented?
Absolutely, and many have done so!
- What is the role of the Rice researcher if they also have a start-up?
Current IP policy prohibits employees of Rice University from representing the Start-up in contract negotiations with Rice University.
- How does revenue sharing from licenses work?
Current IP policy requires that the inventors create and approve a revenue-sharing agreement that designates how commercialization revenue should be shared amongst the inventors.
- What is the role of the Rice researcher when OTT is negotiating a license, and/or what terms can I require in a license?
Per Rice Policy, Rice OTT is responsible for negotiating contracts with external partners. Rice OTT will provide periodic updates on licensing/commercialization status.
- I just remembered my student has a conference in 3 days! How quickly can you file a patent on my technology?
While quick patent filings are possible, to help ensure strong and broad coverage, ample time is needed to allow patent counsel to provide draft patent applications that Rice OTT and the inventors can review.
Please see the Office of Technology Transfer's Licensing FAQ for more information.