Intellectual Property Questions
1. What is a disclosure?
A disclosure is the release of information or research for the purposes of intellectual property protection.
2. What is a Report of Invention (ROI), and where can I find one?
The ROI is a document used by OTT to process the disclosure. A copy of the ROI can be located under Forms and Agreements.
3. What is intellectual property?
Intellectual property is tangible and intangible personal property such as concepts, ideas, and other works that can be protected from unauthorized use through patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets.
4. How is intellectual property protected?
There are many ways, by federal patent law, copyright law, trademark law, state trademark law, state laws regarding trade secrets and other laws related to business and contracts.
5. When should intellectual property be disclosed to ECU?
Intellectual property should be disclosed early in the development process. These disclosures should be made before any public disclosures (oral or written) are released. An additional reference table can be accessed by clicking here.
6. Why should intellectual property be disclosed before a public disclosure?
Once a public disclosure has been made, many opportunities for foreign patents have been lost. Also, from the date of the public disclosure there is a one year timeline to file for a U.S. patent.
7. Why is protection of intellectual property important?
Intellectual property is a valuable asset, and once it is effectively protected it can return value and advantages to its owner and the inventive group.
8. What is inventorship?
Inventorship is a legal concept for recognizing individuals who contribute to the conception of the invention, and is defined by the patent. Conception is defined as: the complete performance of the mental part of the inventive act. All that remains to be accomplished, in order to perfect the act or instrument, belongs to the department of construction, not invention. It is therefore the formation, in the mind of the inventor of a definite and permanent idea of the complete and operative invention, as it is thereafter to be applied in practice that constitutes an available conception, within the patent law.
9. Who should be listed as contributors on the ROI?
Those listed on the ROI should include anyone who contributed to the project.
10. Who owns an invention made on an employee’s own time and resources?
In this situation, the inventor will usually own the invention. Check with OTT, however, to help avoid potential misunderstandings.
11. If an employee of ECU and an employee from an outside company or university invent something jointly what happens to the invention?
Typically, this invention will be jointly owned by ECU and the outside company or university. However, it is important to contact OTT to determine the standings for each case.
12. Why does the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) need my social security number?
The social security number of each inventor is required for the disbursement of any checks relating to the income of the invention.
13. What constitutes a conflict of interest and how can I avoid complications arising from one?
ECU Policies define a conflict of interest as any situation in which faculty members may have the opportunity to influence the University’s business decisions in ways that could lead to personal gain or give improper advantage to their associates. To avoid any associated complications, ECU faculty and EPA non-faculty shall disclose potential conflicts immediately using the appropriate University forms and shall allow the University through appropriate administrative interventions to eliminate, avoid, or manage the potential conflicts. Please refer to the referenced ECU policies below.
14. How are inventions from federally sponsored research handled?
Title of inventions resulting from federally sponsored research belongs to ECU. When a patent on such an invention belongs to ECU, the U.S. Government has a royalty-free license to use the invention.
15. How are inventions from state sponsored research handled?
ECU owns state sponsored research inventions outright.
16. How are inventions from privately sponsored research handled?
These details depend on the particular research contract. In general, ECU will retain the title to intellectual property and grant the sponsor the first opportunity to license the technology under commercially reasonable terms to be negotiated.