Skip to main content

Technology Transfer Process Overview

Communication with CCTEC Disclosure Submission to CCTEC Assessment and Strategy Development Protection by Patents and Other Mechanisms Marketing License Negotiation License Grant to Existing or New Businesses Post-Agreement Services

1. Communication with CCTEC

If you believe you have made an important discovery or have come up with an inventive idea, it is a good idea to contact CCTEC to explore what should be done with your discovery or idea before you disclose it to the public. Our licensing officers will be glad to work with you to advise you whether you should file an invention disclosure with CCTEC. Alternatively, you can simply file a disclosure with CCTEC first and our licensing officer will then contact you to discuss your discovery or idea further. Early communication can ensure a better evaluation of the market potential and social and commercial value of your discovery or idea, and whether we need to file a patent application prior to any public disclosure to protect your intellectual property rights.


2. Disclosure Submission to CCTEC

The invention disclosure form is a simple four-page document that describes your invention or discovery. The invention disclosure form should be submitted with a written description of your idea or discovery. Additional manuscripts, explanatory drawings, and supporting data are very helpful. To ensure maximal protection rights for your invention, it is important to file an invention disclosure form before any public disclosure such as a publication or a public presentation. After you disclose your invention to CCTEC, a licensing officer will be assigned to manage the invention and will be in contact with you within two months.


3. Assessment and Strategy Development

Once you've disclosed your invention to CCTEC, the next step is to work with a licensing officer to explore its market or commercial potential. You and your licensing officer will work together to review the following key issues, among other factors, that affect the assessment of the invention:

  • What problem(s) does the invention solve?
  • What is the potential market for or the commercial value of the invention?
  • Are there competing technologies available or under development in other labs? How much better is the new invention than the competing inventions?
  • How to protect the invention to prepare it for commercialization?
  • Do you intend to continue working in this area, and are you willing to do experiments that will make the invention more attractive to industry or will help fulfill the enablement demand of the patent examiner?
  • What previous publications or patents related to the invention are you aware of?
  • What businesses may be good industry partners to develop your invention into valuable products or services for the public?
  • Is there potential to create a new business enterprise based on the invention that can foster regional economic development?

Learn more about how CCTEC will assess your invention.


4. Protection by Patents & Other Mechanisms

To ensure eligibility for U.S. patent rights covering your invention, a patent application must be filed within one year of public disclosure. To maintain patent rights in the rest of the world, a patent application must be filed prior to public disclosure anywhere in the world. Therefore, if you are interested in developing your new inventions into useful products or services for the public, please contact CCTEC immediately if and when you are about to publicly disclose new ideas or research results. The following are some examples of public disclosure:

  • Sharing a pre-publication manuscript with others without a confidentiality agreement
  • Publication of a meeting abstract
  • Presentation in a conference or giving a seminar
  • Publication of an article (either online or print)
  • Sharing ideas or data with a person who is not officially a collaborator of your research

Not all invention disclosures submitted to CCTEC are appropriate for patent protection. CCTEC will work with you to determine the potential and patentability of any disclosed inventions. If the decision is made to go ahead with a patent application, CCTEC will manage the process.


5. Marketing

If you and your licensing officer agree there is market potential for your invention, CCTEC will begin to market your invention to license to industry. To reach industry partners, CCTEC generates non-confidential marketing materials and a list of target companies. Your industry contacts can be of great value in finding the right licensee for the invention. It's estimated that 80% of university licensing deals begin with the researcher's relationships in industry.


CCTEC often seeks advice and opinions from members of our Industry Advisory Group (IAG). This group consists of individuals with a variety of backgrounds and experiences working in industry who have agreed to help CCTEC with inquiries, provide recommendations and information.

Learn more about the Industry Advisory Group.


6. License Negotiation

Once a potential licensee has expressed interest in licensing your invention, the licensee may sign a Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement with CCTEC so you and your licensing officer can discuss your invention in detail with the potential licensee. If the discussion reaches the negotiation stage, your licensing officer will negotiate terms and sign a license with the company.


7. License Grant to Existing or New Businesses

CCTEC licenses Cornell intellectual property to companies ranging from Fortune 500, to medium and small businesses. If CCTEC believes the use of your invention in the starting of a new business enterprise will best advance the university's missions and strategic goals (currently, regional economic development is an important strategic goal), CCTEC will endeavor to do so. If you are interested in participating in such an endeavor, do not hesitate to let the licensing officer responsible for your invention know.


8. Post-Agreement Services

After a license is executed, CCTEC continues to maintain a relationship with the licensee. CCTEC tracks the diligence of the licensee in its development of your invention. Occasionally, because of industry environment changes, the licensee will require adjustments. CCTEC will be responsible for making reasonable adjustments to the original license. Finally, if the license of your invention generates any net income (net income is gross income minus any out-of-pocket costs incurred by CCTEC in the licensing of your invention), CCTEC distributes it, according to university policy, to the appropriate university stakeholders.

For net income from the licensing of an invention:

  • the inventor (if multiple inventors, as a group) will receive one-third
  • the university will retain one-third to help with the cost of the university technology transfer program
  • the remaining one-third is split between the principal inventor's academic "unit" (60%) and the university research administration (40%).

For a detailed look at the operating process, click here.