Introduction to Technology Commercialization

Technology commercialization is the process of identifying novel research and scholarly findings, protecting the same through patents and copyrights, determining potential applications in the market, and proposing further development, or commercialization. Many times the latter is accomplished through collaborations with other organizations.

Technology is usually commercialized through exercising best practices development of particular products and services. The best practices will vary based on the type of research or scholarly findings. Most important is creating a clear, milestone driven commercialization plan which includes multiple decision-making points for continued execution.

If the Technology Commercialization process is successful, it is a means to the all important "end" of having GVSU research and scholarship have impact in the world. The process itself has many advantages. If fosters long-term and mutually beneficial relationships among the university, industry, state agencies and the community. It advances GVSU's education and innovation agenda. It attracts and cultivates progressive faculty, staff and students. It transforms GVSU innovations into new product, industries and global solutions that promote a  healthy global society. And last but not least, commercializing technologies drives development and expansion of local state and national economies. 

Please contact the GVSU TCO through email: tco@gvsu.edu or fill out a request form located on the TCO website.


In most instances, for the use of the intellectual property from others by educational institution, there are "safe harbor" statues that protect the user from infringement. That said, if a new invention is based on the use of intellectual property from others, there may be limited opportunity to file for patents on the new invention, and without licensing the IP of others, no opportunity to commercialization the new invention.

Yes, intellectual property may be shared. Ideally this happens AFTER a patent application has been filed. If key proprietary information is going to be shared with a patent filing, then best practice dictates this be done under a confidentiality agreement. This obligates all parties in the collaboration to hold information and disallow public disclosure. 

This is highly dependent on the terms of the agreement between GVSU and the research sponsor. Frequently research sponsors who are compensating the research team will request all inventions derived as part of the research be assigned to the research sponsors. The researcher will still need to be declared as an inventor, but all IP rights will be given to the sponsor.

Yes, but to do so you will need to file intellectual property through the TCO prior to the publication of the research findings. 

Invention Disclosure

Creating and invention is a significant accomplishment! The mission of the TCO is to protect and enhance the value of the invention to benefit the inventor(s) and GVSU.

 And Invention Disclosure is the official written notice of a university invention. 

All inventions should be disclosed to the university via the TCO. Inventions may include many types of discoveries and technological innovations such as processes, methods, machines, articles of manufacture, devices, chemicals, and compositions of matter. In addition to inventions, Intellectual Property (IP) can be found in software, discoveries, creative or artistic works, know-how, processes improvements and unique materials. 

Timing is a crucial factor when submitting an invention disclosure. it should be done prior to "public disclosure" or when the invention is going to be shared through non-confidential oral or written communication to people outside of GVSU. Forms of public disclosure include a journal article, conference presentations, proceedings or abstracts, poster presentation, dissertation or thesis publication, defense of dissertation or thesis funded grant application, meeting notes publicly distributed, web posting, discussion with a non-GVSU party (on or off campus), and any publicly available video or poster.

Inventions that are publicly disclosed without any prior patented application are not eligible to seek patent protection outside the United Sates.

The TCO appreciates submission of an invention disclosure form at least eight weeks prior to planned public disclosure. This time frame allows for an in-depth evaluation process to be completed and ensures enough time for actions to be taken to protect both U.S. and foreign patenting rights.

A patentable invention is defined as a man-made device, composition, method or process that must be new, useful, and not immediately obvious (non-obvious).

Inventors complete the  Invention Disclosure Form (IDF) available on the TCO website. The TCO receives the form and works with the inventor to determine an intellectual property strategy. 


The GVSU TCO assesses invention disclosures through a review process that starts with a discussion with the IDF submitter. Through this conversation the TCO is seeking to determine the level of interest in pursuing the patent protection by the inventor, whether the inventor has interest in commercializing the invention, whether the invention meets patentability criteria (novel, and non-obvious), and if a patent were issued, can it be policed and enforced.

The Bayh-Dole Act was passed with the objective of promoting economic development by allowing small business and non-profit organizations, including universities , to own inventions made under the federally-funded research programs. The Bayh-Dole Act creates the parameters of university participation in technology transfer and other economic development activities. The government retains certain rights, which include: requiring use of licensed inventions to prevent sequestering, requiring U.S. manufacture for exclusive licenses, and retaining non-exclusive rights for government purposes.

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