disclosure-01-1024x1024Venture Development Process



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The Patent and Tangible Research Policy (POL 10.00.01) at NC State states that “it is in the public interest for the University, when appropriate, to secure intellectual property protection for the products of its research to facilitate commercialization, to encourage entrepreneurship, to contribute to the professional development of University inventors, and to enhance the educational opportunities of participating students”.

The policy defines the terms like “invention,” “inventor,” and how royalties flow through explains the university’s distribution policy as follows:

As a condition of employment at NC State, every employee must sign the NC State Patent Agreement, which states the “obligation to communicate promptly to the University Office of Research Commercialization a full and complete disclosure of all inventions.” Further, the agreement states that “every employee will assign to the University their right title and interest in all inventions that they conceive or reduce to practice during the course of their employment or in connection with their use of university facilities or funds administered by the University.”

During this phase the university innovator will:

Online disclosure to the Office of Research Commercialization (ORC) for Copyright, Invention, Plant, or Software

The very first step in seeking to commercialize an innovation (will refer to an invention or technology, software, a copyrighted work, or plant) developed at the university will be to submit an Invention Disclosure Form (IDF) through the NC State Office of Research Commercialization (ORC). ORC will evaluate the IDF to determine the best path forward for compliance reporting and commercialization. During this time, the University Innovator should begin to consider and prepare for several possible outcomes.

Research Commercialization Review

ORC’s staff has expertise in intellectual property management including patenting, copyright, trademark, plant variety protection, and software commercialization. Research Commercialization seeks and works with university innovators to find the path necessary to commercialization, so it is critical that the innovator leverage the expertise and experience in commercializing innovations at the earliest stage possible. However, there are many reasons why an innovation might not be able to be protected and commercialized. If ORC are unable to proceed with commercialization, your assigned Licensing Associate from ORC will respond back to the university innovator as to the reasons why. Often further development or more data is required to make a compelling case for attracting a commercialization partner. Sometimes the innovation is solid but a market need can not be identified.

How does ORC find a suitable licensee for commercialization?

If it is determined that the innovation is considered feasible for commercialization then ORC will typically market the opportunity to license the innovation to established companies and/or experienced entrepreneurs first. Licensing an innovation to an established company or experienced (also know as “serial entrepreneur“) entrepreneur is the most traditional route to successful commercialization. This is due to the financial strength, research and development capabilities, specialized equipment, developed customer base, distribution channels, and experience in bringing technologies to market.

However, licensing to an existing company or serial entrepreneur is not always feasible, and under appropriate circumstances, University Innovators may choose to form a startup company to commercialize intellectual property developed at NC State (“Startup Company”). These NC State Startup Companies drive economic growth by offering a pathway toward commercialization that often remains rooted in the local economy. Startup companies contribute to the economic development mission of the university by creating employment opportunities for our graduates, assist in attracting top faculty, and connect the research and economic development missions of the university to our alumni base. Working to ensure that NC State maintains its vibrant innovation and entrepreneurial environment is a key goal of the Office of Research Commercialization.

What has been the impact of the University’s commercialization efforts?

Over the years NC State Research Commercialization has played a critical role in the following economic development impact:

When does the startup company possibility become a reality?

If there is no interested external licensee, and the university innovator is interested in commercializing the technology through the creation of a startup company, then the university innovator should meet with the Office of Research Commercialization and start to discuss the possibility of launching a startup company.

This is when the Venture Development (launching a startup company based around intellectual property developed at the university) process begins.

Frequently Asked Questions:

NC State University Resources:

Additional Resources – Web Links: