Inventions & Patents
The policies that govern intellectual property at the University of North Florida include (a) the Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks and Other Intellectual Property policy, which covers all students, out-of-unit faculty and staff, and (b) Article 25 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the University's Board of Trustees and the United Faculty of Florida, which governs in-unit members of the faculty. Both documents provide UNF's definitions of intellectual property, set out the University's policy on the ownership of intellectual property, and establish the procedures for the identification, disclosure, and assessment of University interest in IP developed by University personnel. The Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks and Other Intellectual Property policy establishes the distribution of proceeds from IP between the University and the relevant students, faculty and staff. This provision for compensation is incorporated by reference in Article 25 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Disclosing an Invention
Process Chart: This chart gives a schematic presentation of the current technology transfer process at UNF.
The first step in reporting a novel idea or concept, as an invention or work, is to fill out and submit to the Assistant Vice President for Research an Invention Disclosure Form, which can be found on the ORSP web site. The form also may be obtained directly from ORSP (Building 3, Room 2501). The form requests information to be used in evaluating the invention or work. This disclosure is confidential and will remain so until the process for filing for patent or copyrights is complete.
The University will review the disclosure forms and advise the individual(s) submitting the disclosure if further information is needed in order to assess whether it will assert its interest in the intellectual property. Once the University receives all necessary information to make its assessment, the University will notify the disclosing individual(s) in writing that it is beginning its assessment process.
Following this notification, the University, within 120 days, will advise the individual(s) in writing whether it will assert its interest in the IP. The University may use internal expertise or seek the assistance of outside entities in assessing whether to assert its interest in the IP. Should an outside entity require further information from the disclosing individual, the individual shall provide the requested information to the University as quickly as possible. Should the disclosing individual(s) delay in providing the requested information, the University's assessment period will be extended commensurate with the length of delay of the disclosing individual(s) in providing the requested information. Each review, internal or external, will be done under a confidential non-disclosure agreement with the reviewer.
Protecting Your Invention
It is important that inventors pay attention to the following important details that are pertinent to the protection of IP.
Inventors should refrain from discussing the invention or publishing (making public) information on the invention until the Invention Disclosure Form has been filed. In particular, the invention should not be submitted for publication or presented at a scientific meeting prior to the disclosure. Publication of information about an invention may place the invention in the public domain, thereby defeating the effort to obtain patent protection.
Placement of a student's thesis or dissertation on the University Library's Digital Commons amounts to the publication of the information contained therein and will place the information in the public domain. However, the student, in consultation with relevant faculty, departmental chair, and college dean, may withhold the public posting of the Digital Commons thesis or dissertation for a period of up to five years (after acceptance of a thesis or dissertation) to enable the protection of an intellectual property. More details are available on the Availability Agreement available on the Graduate School website.