Aside from the research itself, the most crucial step in commercializing a lab-generated idea is invention disclosure. Basically, invention disclosure consists of a formal, confidential document that dates and describes the invention. Keep in mind that the invention disclosure process records but does not protect an invention.
A good invention disclosure includes
- a list of inventors, their departments, and role in the invention;
- identification of any federal or other funding used to make the invention; and
- a description of the invention.
Filing a disclosure will not prevent you from publishing your invention. The IU Research & Technology Corp. (IURTC) respects the need of faculty to publish and present their research findings in an expeditious fashion, and will work with you to protect your invention without interfering with your academic activities. Remember, presentation of your data at a research conference or invited lecture can be detrimental to some aspects of invention protection and consultation with an IURTC intellectual property manager before a presentation can be critical.
The IURTC provides several types of disclosure forms and offers assistance in filling them out.
For details on the disclosure process, I highly recommend reading the book I wrote in collaboration with the IURTC. It’s called the Faculty Inventor’s Guide, and it is downloadable here.