Inventor FAQs

What is the IPAC?
The Intellectual Property Advisory Committee is a group of faculty and staff appointed by the President that meets regularly to provide input on decisions about whether or not to proceed with patent or copyright protection and/or commercialization at University expense.

What does the IPAC do?
The IPAC reviews each written disclosure and can provide a sounding board for ideas that have not been fully developed. The inventor or a representative is allowed to examine all written materials submitted to the Committee in connection with the disclosure and, upon request, make an oral presentation to the Committee concerning the merit of the invention and its commercial potential. The Committee will recommend action on the invention or work to the designee of the President, taking into account the best interest of the University, the inventor, the sponsor (if any) and the public.

How long will the review process take?
Typically, the IPAC will review each written disclosure during the meeting in the month it is received and make recommendations. Often, the inventor is requested to provide more information to the committee in time for the subsequent IPAC meeting. Therefore, to expedite the process, it is best to provide a clear and complete description of the invention or work in the disclosure and do a thorough literature search to find similar inventions. After the IPAC is satisfied that there is enough information to make a decision about further action on the IP, it will make a recommendation to the designee of the President. The inventor or author will be included in communications regarding University decisions.

What happens after the IPAC review?
Once the IPAC makes recommendations, the Vice Provost for Research (designee of the President) makes a decision whether or not the University should retain rights to the intellectual property. If rights are retained, the inventor may work with the TBR counsel, another attorney, or a university representative to write an application for a provisional patent (protection for 1 year) and/or full patent protection at University expense.

When does the University own the IP?
The University generally owns IP created by employees. If the University pursues (and pays for) patent or copyright protection on behalf of the inventor or author, patents and copyrights belong to the University. Any profits realized from commercialization of the IP will be shared with the inventor or author.

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