Protection of intellectual property can be critical for commercialization. The United States patent system was created to promote innovation and economic growth, and provides exclusivity for those who expend resources and capital in an effort to develop and provide novel products and services. Copyright generally protects innovative written, recorded and presented work, and protection is provided at creation, however we may elect to register with the U.S. Copyright office under certain circumstances. Trademarks protect business names, slogans and related representations.

Innovative Work Protection Rights Rules
Machine, process, article of manufacture, composition of matter Patent
  • Make
  • Use
  • Sell
  • Import
  • Novel
  • Useful
  • Non-obvious
Writing, software, music, recording, photograph, art work, motion picture, choreography Copyright
  • Copy
  • Adapt
  • Distribute
  • Perform
  • Display
  • Original
  • Fixed
Logo, name, slogan Trademark
  • Exclusive use
  • Use in trade
Information not generally known Trade Secret
  • Exclusive use
  • Keep secret
  • State law

Please note that for patent protection in the United States it is mandatory that patent protection be sought prior to public disclosure (publication, oral or poster presentation etc.) or patent rights will be forfeited.

For more information on patents, please see the Patent Process Outline.

Before you share confidential information with another party or institution, please contact us in OCED and we can help you assess the situation and if necessary put a confidentiality agreement (CDA) in place that will help protect the University’s continued rights to the information