Disclosure Forms are often used along with lab notebooks in the patenting process to document the invention. The disclosure form is the first step in submitting the invention to the MCW Office of Technology Development (OTD). MCW employees should use a disclosure form whether it is a patentable invention, technique and know-how, a biological material, or any other form of intellectual property. Submitting a completed disclosure form to OTD staff triggers the assessment, patenting and licensing process.
Upon receiving a completed disclosure form, an intellectual property manager will contact the inventor to set up a disclosure meeting. Sometimes inventors need to expedite this process because, for example, they have immediate plans to publicly disclose the discovery at a scientific meeting. The OTD office needs to be informed about all impending deadlines.
Once the MCW Office of Technology Development (OTD) receives an invention disclosure, it arranges a meeting with the inventor(s) and the appropriate OTD staff. During the meeting, the inventor explains the discovery and is asked a series of questions about the discovery and the general state of the art. This helps the staff determine its patentability and commercial potential. Typical questions in the meeting could include what exactly is new about the discovery, when and how the discovery was made, what would the commercial product look like, what is the commercial value of the technology, and what companies might be interested in licensing the technology to produce commercial products.
After the meeting, the staff conducts further due diligence in order to determine the appropriate course of action. The patent literature is searched to determine the likelihood of getting a patent and how broadly the discovery could be protected. The invention is also evaluated for commercial potential, likelihood of licensing, encumbrances and other issues that may complicate patenting and licensing efforts. It usually takes 4-6 weeks for an evaluation to be complete. After evaluation, a decision is made to either: 1) pursue intellectual property protection through a patent, copyright, trademark and/or other means, or 2) Decline to pursue the protection and licensing of a discovery in which case the rights can be given to the inventor.