Tech Transfer Process
University research sometimes results in tangible or intangible products termed intellectual property (IP) which may have commercial app lications. Each SIU campus has a similar protocol for evaluating and processing these inventions, as described below. Researchers who believe that they may have developed a novel product, process, material, plant variety, or copyrightable work that may have commercial applications should contact the Office of Technology Transfer.
The Inventor makes an Evaluation Request in writing to the Office of Technology Transfer. Inventors are encouraged to contact the Office of Technology Transfer if they require any assistance in compiling required information.
SIU’s Technology Transfer team compiles a written assessment of the patentability (if applicable) and marketability of the IP. Factors such as the technology’s stage of development, novelty, market potential, possible licensees, and inventor intentions are all considered. Upon favorable review or inventor request, the assessment is presented to a peer committee (the exact composition and protocol of which varies per campus) by the inventor and the Office of Technology Transfer.
IP Protection Process
If the IP is retained by SIU, the Office of Technology Transfer will work with the inventor to protect it via a patent, copyright, trade secret, or other compatible legal and/or administrative structure. Note that patent prosecution (the application process required by the United States Patent and Trademark) in particular is a multi-stage process which may take as long as five years to culminate in the granting of patent rights. Commercialization efforts typically continue throughout this prosecution period.
Note that in some cases, a non-provisional patent application may be rejected by the USPTO due to conflicts with prior art. The Office of Technology Transfer and any contracted patent attorneys will attempt to identify potential prior art conflicts prior to filing a non-provisional patent application.
Marketing and Licensing
The Office of Technology Transfer, the inventor, and other University entities will collaborate as appropriate to market the IP for potential licensing either to industry or as the basis for a start-up company.
SIU monitors the performance of the licensed IP and proceeds are distributed to the inventor, SIU, and the inventor's college or department according to the SIU Intellectual Property Policy. Inventors often serve in key roles in start-up companies; however, a high level of participation may not be prerequisite to the successful commercialization of IP.