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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: 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: 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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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.