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General Intellectual Property Terminology

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Commercialization - The process of licensing an innovation, whether a product or process, developed by a university or government laboratory to a private company for commercial development.

Development Expense - Costs associated with developing, protecting or improving the commercial viability of Intellectual Property. Includes expenses such as fees for patent applications, marketing, legal, etc.

Gift - Voluntary and permanent transfer of an asset, including Intellectual Property, with no expectation of compensation or other benefit from the recipient.

Intellectual Property - An invented or created product or idea created by the human mind that is protected by law from unauthorized use by any who do not own rights to it.

Interinstitutional Agreement - An agreement between a university and another university or institution to conduct research or technology transfer activities. Typically established when conducting joint research projects.

Invention - A new method, device, process or object that has not previously been discovered or created and can be utilized for a specific purpose or an improvement to an existing invention. Not every invention is patentable.

Know How - Information related to Intellectual Property, innovations, improvements, processes, formulas, information, trade secrets, etc.

License - Permission granted to utilize Intellectual Property.

License Agreement - A legal document specifying the terms of use for an invention and protecting ownership rights in an invention. Typically includes a length of time or specifies perpetuity. Includes rights, prohibited uses, limitations and other legal terms.

Licensing - The mechanism to develop Intellectual Property and make it available for public use while generating revenue.

License Issue Fee - Consideration given as an initial lump payment to the Licensor.

Licensor - The granter of a license. The owner of the Intellectual Property being licensed.

National Institutes of Health - The primary Federal agency that conducts and supports medical research. A division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

New Venture - In the realm of Intellectual Property, a new venture is a company established to commercialize the technology or innovation that was created, often in conjunction with a research university's technology licensing office. May also be called a Start-Up.

Owner - Person(s) or entity(s) who control the rights to something.

Pre-Disclosure - Notification sent to a university Technology Licensing Office (“TLO”) to discuss an invention and the disclosure and transfer processes.

Principal Investigator - The person in charge of a project.

Prior Art - Public knowledge preceding the date of invention that is either related to or in the specific field of the invention. May include published articles, abstracts, previously filed patents, or materials presented in an academic or professional setting (such as a conference). Patent applicants must establish that their invention is uniquely different to a prior art or a non-obvious use of the prior art.

Publication - Disclosure in a format easily accessible or distributed to the general public.

Public Disclosure - Making public an invention or technology. Can be accomplished in many ways including publication, presentation, etc. Patent rights must be filed within twelve (12) months of public disclosure in order to preserve the inventor's rights.

Public Domain - Indicates lack of copyright or patent and is allowed to be used by anyone.

Reach Through Rights - Ownership rights claimed by a research sponsor other than a university. Allows unreasonable control over innovations. Request of these rights conflicts with the research principles of the National Institutes of Health.

Research Data - Any information generated and documented while performing research.

Reduced to Practice - A concept that has been proven to work as intended.

Reduction - The process of constructing the invention or performing the process to demonstrate its intended or claimed use in the patent application.

Research Agreement - Defines the terms for sponsors to provide research support to a university.

Research Consortium - A collaborative effort by a group of institutions or corporations to investigate or research something of mutual interest.

Scholarly Work - Work crated by an institution's faculty member within their Scope of Employment and in the area in which they teach.

Sponsored Research - Research funded by an external entity for a specific purpose.

Start-Up Company - In the realm of Intellectual Property, a start-up company may be established to commercialize the technology or innovation that was created, often in conjunction with a research university's technology licensing office. May also be called a New Venture.

Tangible Research Property - Results of research that are physical in nature rather than intellectual. A physical invention rather than an innovative concept.

Technology Licensing Office - A department, sub-department or additional entity of a university who facilitates licensing, transfer and commercialization of inventions discovered by researchers, faculty or students of the institution. Abbreviated as “TLO”.

Technology Transfer - Technology Transfer is the sharing of skills, knowledge, technologies, methods of manufacturing, samples of manufacturing and facilities among industries, universities, governments and other institutions to make scientific and technological developments accessible to a wider range of people who can further develop and exploit the technology..

Technology Transfer Officers - Technology Transfer Offices - an organization within a university or government body that identifies research initiatives that have the greatest commercial potential, and facilitates their commercialization. They provide strategies for these discoveries and help to guide the process to fully exploit its opportunity. They are also known as "Offices of Technology Transfer."

Technology Transfer Process - The predefined steps taken by the research university to assert and protect its patent rights and to monetize inventions where possible. Steps in the process may include pre-disclosure, disclosure, assessment, protection, marketing, licensing, commercialization and revenue distribution.

Venture Capital - Money invested in exchange for equity in a new business.

Work Made for Hire - Any work created by an employee when conducting their employment duties. Ownership of works made for hire resides with the employer. May also refer to a work by a consultant or contractor if their consulting or Contractor Agreement specifies ownership rights to the contracting entity.

World Intellectual Property Organization - An agency of the United Nations (UN) responsible for the protection of Intellectual Property worldwide. Referred to as “WIPO”.

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Additional Resources

An Integrated Theory of Intellectual Property

Yale's Guide to Reviewing Business Agreements and Contracts

Fundamentals of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Primer

A Dictionary of Intellectual Property Issues

Protecting Intellectual Property

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