Tech Transfer - University of Michigan

Improving Our Quality of Life

Glossary

Consulting Agreement: arrangements outside of normal university business between faculty and companies designed to facilitate product development. Different colleges have different policies for faculty disclosure of consulting agreements.

Copyright: ability to exclude others for a limited period of time from using original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression which can be perceived, reproduced or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device (typically used for texts, software and visual and audio materials).

Intellectual Property: a term often used to refer generically to property rights created through intellectual and/or discovery efforts of a creator that are generally protectable under patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, trade dress or other law.

Invention: a new and useful process, device, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or new or useful improvement upon one of these.

Invention Report: written notification to the OTT that an invention has been made. This form is an important step to protecting the invention.

License: legal permission from an IP owner to practice an invention. License agreements include miscellaneous financial and diligence terms.

Material Transfer Agreements and Evaluation Agreements: agreements that authorize companies to use or evaluate chemical compounds, prototypes, biological materials and software programs within specific limits.

Non Disclosure Agreements: provide protection against misappropriation of non-public information (e.g., inventions, research data, computer software, etc.) Usually used prior to disclosing information to a company considering funding research and/or licensing technology.

Option Agreements: An agreement granting a company the exclusive right to evaluate a technology for a short period of time prior to executing a license agreement. In most cases, the option agreement provides for the company to reimburse UM's patent expenses. Options may also include research funding and option fees.

Patent Application: document submitted to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (or Foreign Patent Office) requesting that a patent be issued. Issuance usually takes two years or longer.

Sponsored Research Agreements: Most university technologies are early stage and often additional research and evaluation is required to move the technology toward commercialization. If the prospective licensee can't do that research “in-house,” the university inventors may be asked to do it under a sponsored research agreement with the company. The Division of Research Development and Administration (DRDA) negotiates such agreements, with input from OTT as appropriate.

Trademark: a name, word, symbol, or device that allows the trademark owner to dictate its use in identifying a product, e.g., logos and brand names.

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