Technology Transfer / Patents & Licensing

For USF Researchers

  1. Technology Transfer Office - For USF Researchers
  2. Disclosing a New Technology
  3. Protecting your Research
  4. Intellectual Property
  5. Process for Obtaining a Utility Patent
  6. Facilitation of a University Start-Up

Technology Transfer Office - For USF Researchers

The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) works with researchers and students in every college to ready new inventions for the patenting process and potential licensing opportunities. This work allows for a sustained focus on transferring cutting-edge research and innovation to the commercial marketplace, generating revenue and diversifying the economy.

All university employees must disclose inventions or other works to the Technology Transfer Office according to USF Policy 0-300

Statement of Policy and Procedures for Inventions and Works -- USF Policy 0-300 (PDF)

TTO encourages you to contact our office during your discovery process to ensure you are aware of the options that will best leverage the commercial potential of your research. Our staff members are trained to assist you with questions related to marketability, funding sources, commercial partners, patenting and other protection methods, new business start-up considerations, university policies and procedures, and much more. Our team approach is designed to help with every step along the way.

Disclosing a New Technology

If you have a new invention discovery, the first step is to submit an Invention Disclosure Form (PDF) to disclose any discovery, invention, process, composition of matter, article of manufacture, know-how, design, model, technological development, strain, variety, or culture of any organism, or portion, modification, translation, or extension of these items, and any mark used in connection with these items.

If you want to disclose works of authorship which comprise a body of information which may be protected by copyright, please submit a Disclosure of Work Form (PDF). This would include printed material, computer software or data bases, audio and visual material, circuit diagrams, architectural and engineering drawings, lectures, musical or dramatic compositions, choreographic works, pictorial or graphic works, and sculptural works.

Protecting your Research: Confidential Disclosure Agreements (CDAs) and Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)

Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) and Confidential Disclosure Agreements (CDAs) are negotiated in accordance with best business practices to protect our ability to pursue intellectual property (IP) protection for your invention, maintain ownership and licensing rights, and allow you to timely publish your results. Remember to protect your rights and have a CDA put in place before discussing enabling details of your research with anyone outside USF. When you are interested in exchanging biological, chemical or other materials contact our office for an MTA.

One-Way Confidential Disclosure Agreement Form (PDF)

Mutual Confidential Disclosure Agreement Form (PDF)

USF Material Transfer Agreement Expediting Form (required with all MTAs) (PDF)

USF Pre-Approved Material Transfer Agreement (PDF)

Simple Letter Agreement for Transfer of Materials (PDF)

Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement - Implementing Letter (PDF)

Intellectual Property

The Technology Transfer Office at USF works with hundreds of researchers each year to help them protect their inventions through the patent process. The IP Management team works diligently with our outside counsel to facilitate and streamline this process.

Intellectual Property refers to creations of the mind—creative works or ideas embodied in a form that can be shared or can enable others to recreate, emulate, or manufacture them. In order to be patentable, an invention must be novel, useful and enabling. There are four ways to protect intellectual property: patents, trademarks, copyrights, or trade secrets.

A patent is a property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States" for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted. In order to receive a patent, an invention must be considered novel and useful when relating to processes, machines, methods of manufacture, or compositions of matter.

Process of Obtaining a Utility Patent (PDF)

A trademark protects words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in commerce.

A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed. The Library of Congress registers copyrights which last for the life of the author plus 70 years.

Trade secrets refer to information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over their competitors.

Facilitation of a University Start-Up

One of the primary goals of the Technology Transfer Office is to foster the growth of new businesses based on University of South Florida research. We work with inventors, entrepreneurs, and investors to create successful transitions from innovation to new enterprise.

Our office promotes and facilitates business development and entrepreneurship by bringing researchers together with experienced entrepreneurs and qualified investors to form companies for the purpose of commercializing USF technologies. The result is new companies that will create jobs and provide mutually beneficial relationships to advance the researcher's technology.

» View our University Start-up Companies

» View our Potential Start-up Companies (preselected technologies which are positioned for start-up company opportunities)

Helpful Links for Researchers

» Inventor FAQs
» TTO Resources