What is the role of the Office of Technology Transfer?
The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) is one resource for facilitating the transfer of academic
knowledge and discovery to the public. Typically, OTT evaluates new inventions, explores options
for establishing intellectual property protection, and seeks to license ECU inventions to interested
industry partners. Other forms of exchange include professional collaborations, conference
presentations, student education, industry partnerships, and more.
What assistance and resources are available from OTT?
OTT specialists can assist inventors with the development and protection of new discoveries
by identifying commercial partners, providing proof-of-concept funding, and conducting patent
searches and market analyses.
Why should I disclose my idea to OTT?
Disclosing your invention is an important step in the protection of your discovery and can lead to
early collaboration with external commercial partners. Additionally, if government funds were used
to conduct the research, a prompt disclosure to ECU must be filed which will be reported to the
funding sponsor.Also, as a condition of employment or enrollment with ECU, employees and
students have a duty to disclose inventions conceived, or conceived and reduced to practice, that
have used university resources.
How do I know if my discovery is an invention?
Useful inventions typically have commercial potential or address a market or technical need. Contact
OTT for assistance in determining whether your discovery fills a market or technical void.
When should I disclose my idea to OTT?
Contact OTT as soon as you believe you have a new and useful discovery. Ideally, this should be
done prior to making a public presentation of your invention through publication of manuscripts,
abstracts, posters, conference proceedings, funded grants or other communications.
What is an invention pre-disclosure and an invention disclosure?
An invention pre-disclosure is informal early contact with OTT staff to discuss your invention and
the conditions of its discovery. This allows OTT to provide guidance on the process of formal
disclosure, evaluation, and protection. A formal invention disclosure requires submission of a
Report of Invention to OTT and is followed by review from the University Committee on Intellectual
What is a Report of Invention?
A Report of Invention (ROI) is a written disclosure to OTT that formally describes the invention
and other relevant information. A ROI is required prior to consideration of an invention by ECU's
OTT encourages inventors to engage in a pre-disclosure discussion at any point during
I have a good idea, but I don’t have data or a prototype, should I still disclose the idea?
conception, for guidance,but providing evidence in the form of data or a prototype will strengthen
the Patent Committee’s review of the invention.
If I jointly conceive an idea with a collaborator from another institution or company, what
Should I disclose research tools such as plasmids, antibodies, cell lines, mice, etc.?
Yes, especially if these tools would benefit other researchers and third parties. Most research
tools do not necessarily need to be protected by patents in order to be licensed to commercial
parties. If you have research tools that you believe others would benefit from, then we will work
with you to develop a licensing and distribution strategy.
happens to the invention?
All individuals who contribute to conception of a patentable invention are inventors, regardless
of where their employment or allegiances reside. However, ownership and licensing of an
invention can depend on other factors such as written collaboration agreements between ECU
and your collaborator’s employer. Typically joint inventorship between inventors from different
academic institutions and/or industry partners is easily handled with written inter-organizational