From Invention to Revenue: the Tech Transfer Process at a Glance

The tech transfer process consists of multiple collaborative steps shared by the inventor(s), Rush University’s Innovation and Technology Transfer division (ITT), and the Rush University Office of Legal Affairs. 

1. Invention
Research-generated observations and experiments often lead to discoveries and inventions. 

An invention is any useful process, machine, composition of matter, or any new or useful improvement of the same. Inventions also may include software, website content and other educational or research content. Often, multiple researchers may contribute to an invention.

2. Pre-disclosure
Establish early communication with ITT licensing professionals to discuss your invention.

Establishing early communication with ITT licensing professionals will provide you with guidance with respect to the disclosure, evaluation and protection processes described below.

3. Disclosure
This is the written notice of invention to ITT that begins the formal technology transfer process.

An invention disclosure is a confidential report and should fully document your invention so that all of the options for commercialization can be evaluated and pursued.

4. Evaluation
You and your ITT representative will determine your invention’s commercialization potential.

You and your ITT representative will review the invention disclosure, conduct prior-art searches, and analyze the market and competitive technologies to determine your invention’s commercialization potential. For most inventions, ITT will provide you an “assessment report” including general market research, identification of potential licensees, a preliminary prior-art search and a marketing abstract, which Rush may use in marketing to potential licensees. This evaluation process, which may lead to a broadening or refinement of the invention, will guide our strategy.

5. Protection
Protecting your IP may involve U.S. patents, foreign patents, copyright and trademark protection.

Patent protection, a common legal protection method, begins with filing a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and, when appropriate, foreign patent offices. Once a patent application has been filed, it typically requires several years and tens of thousands of dollars to obtain issued U.S. and foreign patents. Copyright and trademark protection also may be employed. 

6. Marketing
You’ll partner with ITT staff to identify the right company to bring your technology to market.

With your active involvement, ITT staff can help identify candidate companies that have the expertise, resources and business networks to bring your technology to market.

7. Licensees
When appropriate, licensing specialists will develop an agreement to fully commercialize the technology.

If an appropriate and interested existing company or companies are selected as a potential licensee, ITT licensing specialists will work with that potential licensee to develop the appropriate financial and diligence terms for a license agreement that can fully commercialize the technology. 

8. Licensing
Contracts between Rush and third parties license technology rights without relinquishing ownership.

A license agreement is a contract between Rush and a third party in which the University’s rights to a technology are licensed, without relinquishing ownership, for financial and other benefits.

9. Commercialization
Continuing to advance the technology and develop the product or service.

The licensee continues to advance the technology and makes other business investments to develop the product or service. This step may entail further development, sponsored research at Rush, consulting agreements with inventors, regulatory approvals, sales and marketing support, training and other activities.

10. Revenue
Revenues received from licenses are distributed within Rush University to foster further research and education.

Revenues received by Rush University from licenses are distributed to the Rush University schools/colleges, departments/units, central administration and inventors to fund additional research and education and to encourage further participation in the tech transfer process.