Disclosure of Inventions
Principal investigators and researchers are required to report (disclose) their discoveries or inventions arising from research conducted with UWM resources or using UWM facilities. Disclosures are made online through the UWM Inventor Portal. Investigators should take special care to name all others who have made a creative contribution to the inventive concept, including inventors at other institutions or sponsoring organizations. Individuals who carried out work at the direction of those creating the concept ordinarily would not be designated as inventors. The naming of inventors on a patent, however, is a legal determination made with the aid of patent counsel. If in doubt, include all relevant names.
Equity Review Process
The Office of Technology Transfer will perform an equity review to determine the ownership of the invention and notify the inventor and forward the invention disclosure as required by University policies. Based on the disclosure, patenting or other means of protection will be explored.
It is important to disclose inventions to TTO before any public disclosure is made of the invention. Patent laws vary widely from country to country with respect to patentability after disclosure. In the United States, patents may be applied for no later than one year after the invention is offered for sale or described in a "printed publication," which includes manuscripts, abstracts distributed at conferences, oral presentation with printed viewgraphs or slides, or written notes disseminated during a presentation. The date of publication in a journal or an abstract for a conference is typically the mailing date of the journal (not the submission date) or the abstract books, or when the article is in print and made available through the Internet. It should be noted that in most other countries patent rights are lost immediately upon any disclosure of the invention.
Reporting Inventions to Research Sponsors
The Office of Technology Transfer is required to report all inventions to sponsors, whether public or private, to ensure that specific terms and conditions of the research agreements are met. When the sponsor is an agency of the U.S. government, federal law grants the University the right to commercialize technology, subject to certain conditions. If the University is unable to arrange suitable commercial agreements with industry, or decides not to pursue developing the technology for commercialization by other means, rights revert to the government. The agency, in turn, may choose to make the invention public or otherwise dispose of ownership rights to the inventors. When an invention is the result of corporate funds, it is the obligation of the University to report such invention to the corporate sponsor.