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What is an invention disclosure obligation?

If you have an idea of an invention and believe you might want to disclose it for University consideration of patenting, first think about and try to answer the following:

Is your idea more than a concept?

What is your evidence that it can work?

Can you give a detailed description of the invention, including drawings (if necessary) to show how it works?

Are your descriptions:

  • thorough enough to allow a person skilled in the invention's field of technology to make and use the invention?
  • able to identify the invention's best mode of operation?
  • able to provide a basis for an explanation of the terminology in carefully worded claims?

Is your idea:

  • novel? not previously anticipated in the field or disclosed in a prior invention, called the "prior art"
  • useful? if it is of some benefit qualitatively (some demonstrable utility)
  • obvious? would one skilled in the art consider the invention obvious, even if the prior art did not actually anticipate it?

Has the invention been described in a U.S. or foreign publication?

Has it been on sale or in public use in the U.S. for more than 12 months?

Is it a process? A product?

Have you published your idea in a writing? Read by another? Presented at a conference?

  • If so, when?

Are there others who have worked with you on this idea? Inside/outside the University?

Did you create it using university resources? With outside public or private funding?

Are there existing patents that are similar to yours that your idea is an extension of?

Can you demonstrate that your idea is superior to what is presently on the market?

How do you envision your idea becoming commercialized?

What are the existing competitions?

Do you have a licensee in hand, possible licensees in mind?

Can you identify barriers to getting your idea commercialized?

Will it require federal regulatory approval such as the Food & Drug Administration?

Can you estimate the financial commitment necessary to bring this to market?

Can you estimate the marketing cost, the selling cost of the final product?