Stage 2: The Invention Disclosure
When an inventor believes they have made something that qualifies as an invention, they need to reveal the information to the IDEA Center. This can be completed by filling out an online document known as an invention disclosure form (IDF). The IDF should list all sponsors of the research and include all the information necessary to pursue protection and commercialization activities. It is critical that inventors complete every section of the disclosure in as much detail as possible; failure to do so can result in delayed processing. Inventors should also note the date of any upcoming publications or other public disclosures describing the invention. The IDF will remain confidential, and an assigned technology manager will contact the inventor shortly thereafter to discuss the invention and its potential commercial application.
It is critical to disclose all intellectual property that could constitute inventions or copyrighted works to the IDEA Center, particularly if any portion of the project funding comes from the federal government, a private foundation, or a commercial sponsor. Not only does federal law require prompt disclosure, but the University, inventors, and involved companies could also lose very significant rights if disclosures are delayed or not made at all. An IDF should be submitted to the IDEA Center once a researcher can concisely define the invention and has reduction to practice substantiating the invention through modeling or experimentation. In this sense, an IDF should always be submitted prior to public disclosure.