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Identifying Patentable Inventions. Assessing Commerical Attractiveness. Applying for a Patent. Publication and Patent Rights.

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University of Georgia faculty and staff members agree, as condition of employment, to abide by the Intellectual Property Policy of the University of Georgia. This should be done using our convenient invention disclosure tool, Sophia. In addition to writing a precise description of the invention in the Invention Disclosure form, scientists should take special care to list all the inventors, defined as those who made a creative contribution to the inventive concept.

Individuals who carried out work at the direction of those creating the concept ordinarily should not be designated as inventors.


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It is important to submit an Invention Disclosure form as soon as an inventive concept can be fully and precisely described, even if a physical embodiment of the idea has not been realized. If the invention meets the requirements of patent law and appears to be commercially attractive, a patent application may be filed ahead of the actual reduction to practice.

Thus, in addition to assuming responsibility for protecting intellectual properties, Innovation Gateway also assumes responsibility for marketing intellectual properties and proprietary information to industry, and for reviewing intellectual property agreements related to industry-sponsored research. If you think you have an invention that may be patentable, contact Innovation Gateway at or gateway uga. After an invention disclosure submission is received, an appointment will be set up to discuss and evaluate your innovation. To identify potentially patentable inventions, scientists should review their work periodically in the context of United States patent law, which states that patents may be granted on:.

If an innovation fits into one of these categories, United States patent law also requires that it be:. Each of these three criteria is open to interpretation. It is subject to broad and often inexact interpretation. For example, it might be argued that a new method of controlling protein production in bacteria is obvious in the face of prior art because it relies on a collection of well-known, existing and proven concepts.

Protecting your idea

Conversely, one could argue that the same method is not obvious because certain specific elements of the method yield surprising, unexpected results. Finally, patent law states that inventions may be patented if they have been reduced to practice, even if a physical embodiment of the invention has not been realized. Therefore, some extrapolation about an inventive concept can be included in a patent application. The extent of permissible extrapolation, however, may be the subject of dispute with the Patent Office.

For example, an invention which claims a broad class of chemical compounds is rarely granted a patent, unless evidence is presented that several different representative members of the class have actually been made. A claim even to a single new compound usually must include a detailed description of its actual synthesis in order to receive patent protection. In the case of machines or mechanical devices, the requirements of the patent office are much less strict. The attractiveness of an innovative idea to companies capable of developing it into a commercial product is determined by two critical factors:.

If you wait too long, someone else will capitalize on a similar idea and capture your niche. On the other hand, if your invention is the first of its kind, the market might not be ready — and you'll have to fight an uphill battle to carve out a place for your product. Henry Helgeson, CEO and co-founder of Cayan now part of TSYS , faced this issue as a mobile payments technology company in — years before mobile payments became mainstream.

But once you have momentum going, it's very powerful. If you're on the later end, Helgeson said, you need to take a look at your competition and decide if it's something you want to continue with, or if you're better off going in another direction with your invention. Another big challenge for inventors is figuring out how to make the public aware of your product.

Your idea may be great, but without a marketing plan, no one will ever know about it. But that doesn't have to stand in their way, she said.


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Ready to turn your product idea into a reality? Experts offered the following advice for aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs. There are a lot of steps involved in the invention process, and it can be overwhelming to take care of everything yourself. Lininger advised seeking out professional assistance so you can be assured that certain elements of the process rest in capable, experienced hands. Incubators can also be a great place to find success, providing innovators with tools, resources, and a supportive community as you move through the process.

Get a Provisional Patent

Kate Bell, founder and director of Zip Us In, which provides jacket expanders for pregnant women, uses IncuHive as a base for her business. Inventing a product requires a lot of initial investigation, patience and resilience, Lininger said. Before you start, make sure you have the time to dedicate to due-diligence research. This is especially true when you're looking at patent protection for your idea. Would your design infringe upon someone else's copyright or intellectual property IP? If patent protection is something you are interested in, contact a patent lawyer.

If you have questions or want to be sure your invention is legal for you to create and sell, consult with an attorney specializing in patents and IP law. You should also look at what's out there and size up your competition.

How to Apply for a Patent for Your Invention

This will help the team stay aligned and have a common vision so you can ensure a successful product launch. Once you've found your market and ensured that your legal path is clear, it's time to create a prototype. At this point, you'll need to decide if you're going to have your product manufactured or licensed.