Legal protection and commercialisation
In the 10 steps set out below, we briefly summarise the path from idea to market penetration.
Observations and experiments undertaken during research frequently lead to discoveries and inventions. An invention is a solution to a technical problem, which may come in the form of a product or procedure. Discoveries or inventions often result from simultaneous contributions by several people. On their path to commercialisation, researchers must also check the state of the art and conduct market research to make sure that their idea is genuinely new and innovative.
- patents: EspaceNet. How to search through patent databases (instructions)?
- designs: DesignView. How to search through design databases (instructions)?
- trademarks: TMView. How to search through trademark databases (instructions)?
- other databases: Google Scholar, Google Patents, Linknovate, etc.
Notification on service invention
Notifying the Knowledge Transfer Office about one’s service invention is the first step in the knowledge transfer process. In addition to new inventions, the Office needs to be informed about new computer programmes and other know-how, when these indicate industrial or market applicability. The Office helps evaluate the market potential of your results, advises on the disclosure of the service invention and provides you with explanations regarding the process of legal protection.
Who? If the creation of the invention was contributed to by a person, who is:
- in an employment relationship at the University of Ljubljana;
- in a different contractual relationship with the University of Ljubljana (i.e. a guest teacher, associate in a project, etc.);
- a student, if the invention results from their work undertaken to meet study obligations at the University of Ljubljana or if they used the University’s resources in the process.
In the Invention Disclosure Form, present your invention in full. That will enable our Office to evaluate its potential and possibilities for commercialisation as comprehensively as possible.
How? Submit the Form to the Knowledge Transfer Office by:
- sending it to the Office by registered mail (Pisarna za prenos znanja, Univerza v Ljubljani, Kongresni trg 12, 1000 Ljubljana), marked CLASSIFIED – DO NOT OPEN!;
- sending it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (in this case, the Form must subsequently be sent by regular mail as well, as it must contain handwritten signatures of all inventors/researchers) or
- delivering it to the Office in person.
Acquisition of a service invention
What is a service invention? It is an invention:
- created by an inventor during their employment relationship with the University of Ljubljana in the course of fulfilling their employment contract, i.e. in the course of completing assignments required by the University or required based on a special contract entered into by the inventor and the University of Ljubljana or a University member (direct service invention);
- created in the course of performing one’s job if the creation of the invention was mainly contributed to by the experience the inventor gained at a workplace or by using the resources made available to them by the University (indirect service invention).
What is the acquisition procedure?
Based on the completed Invention Disclosure Form, the Office prepares an evaluation of the invention’s potential, both from the aspect of legal protection by means of industrial property rights as well as its market potential. The invention is then expertly evaluated by the faculty/member, after which it is discussed by the University of Ljubljana’s Innovation Commission. If the invention shows potential, the Rector issues a decision on the acquisition of the invention. This procedure is described in detail in the Rules on the management of industrial property rights at the University of Ljubljana.
Legal protection of intellectual property by means of a patent or other intellectual property rights is essential when it comes to transferring innovations to the market and fostering further innovation. Upon the Innovation Commission’s proposal, the Office collaborates with the patent representative to form a legal protection strategy. The chosen patent representative works with the inventor to prepare a patent application and makes sure it is submitted to the desired patent office.
Important: Do not disclose the invention to the public before filing the patent application (i.e. do not publish an article, defend a thesis, deliver a presentation at a conference/lecture, etc.), as it will thus no longer meet the requirement of being new, which is essential in obtaining a patent.More about intellectual property
Prototype and concept confirmation
An idea must be subjected to certain tests, which confirm whether your technology really works, or it must be confirmed by means of a working prototype. Only then does it become truly interesting to business partners. This greatly increases the chances of successful marketing.
Searching for a business partner
The Office strives to bring each new invention to life in practice. We endeavour to find an appropriate business partner for products or technologies protected by means of intellectual property rights (by preparing pitches, technological offerings, postings on our website, etc.). A business partner will create suitable market leverage for the invention and create added value in the market. Sometimes, the search for a business partner takes several months or even years, depending on the market situation and the companies’ willingness to invest. Active involvement on your part can shorten the search process significantly.
Intellectual property transfer or a spin-out company
When we find a business partner interested in translating the invention to practice, we will negotiate on a form of transfer satisfactory to both partners. This is either a license contract or an assignment agreement. If your product or service represents a real business opportunity, and you are ready to embark on an entrepreneurial path, you can also choose to establish a spin-out company.More about intellectual property
Further development and commercialisation
University technologies and inventions are often in the initial development phases. The chosen partner or the newly-established spin-out company invests in further technology development and ensures the key ingredients to success – time, money and people.More about intellectual property
Licensing revenues or revenues from the assignment of intellectual property rights are used first to cover the costs of intellectual property protection (e.g. patent application fee, cost of patent representative services). The rest is distributed among inventors, the respective University member, and the University, as follows: 10–30% University, 30–50% University member, and 40% inventor(s). The University allocates a share of its revenue to the development and expansion of activities related to the transfer of the University’s knowledge to the business sector.More about intellectual property
Future research and development
There is always room for technological advancement, so it is not a matter of restarting the same process. Successful market performance, and the financial inflow that it ensures, also stimulate continued research and development of new or better solutions (in which case we refer to technical improvements), both for new and already known technical challenges.More about intellectual property