Legal protection and commercialisation

In the 10 steps set out below, we briefly summarise the path from idea to market penetration.

1

Idea

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.

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2

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 ipr@uni-lj.si (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.
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3

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.

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4

Legal protection

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.

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5

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.

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6

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.

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7

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.

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8

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.

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9

Innovation income

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.

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10

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.

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“M SORA has worked with the University of Ljubljana researchers for a number of years, collaborating in numerous fields ranging from fundamental research and joint Slovenian and European projects, to diploma theses, conferences and articles. Collaboration enables us to access the knowledge our company lacks. It is safe to say that Slovenian universities are by no means lacking top-quality knowledge, and we have no need to look for it abroad. We are extremely happy about that. We are also pleased that an increasing number of faculties are interested in working with companies. Most collaborations have begun through common acquaintances, which led to joint projects. Through these, we can get to know one another both personally and professionally, learning about one another’s skills and capabilities. All this leads to the development of completely new products and processes, and solving highly specific daily problems. We are extremely happy with our collaboration partners and the success achieved by our joint projects.” - M SORA d.d.
M SORA d.d.
“the Faculty of Pharmacy has already been engaged in transferring research results for many years. However, our mutual recognisability and productivity have improved significantly since we began collaborating with the University of Ljubljana’s Knowledge Transfer Office. From the preliminary draft of results to the final implementation of patent protection or transfer to users, the Office provides us with the knowledge and services we researchers greatly need, but are not proficient in.
Prof. Borut Štrukelj PhD
“What I most like about the Knowledge Transfer Office is their proactive approach, as it actively seeks partners and solutions and calls us, the researchers, once it finds them. The office helps my laboratory to expand Orange, arrange licences and seek potential clients. The most recent successful connection was one with a company called Wartsila, which has already commissioned us to implement courses in artificial intelligence and with which we hope to develop strategic cooperation.”
Prof. Blaž Zupan PhD
“We got in touch with the outstanding colleagues and partners at the Knowledge Transfer Office, and communicated with them regularly regarding the possibility of patenting innovations and sharing information about events at which connections between faculty researchers and people employed in the business sector can be fostered. By participating in Innovation Day we established contacts with various companies, which led to collaborations. Personally, I regard the Knowledge Transfer Office as an extremely important link between the University and the business sector, and would recommend all researchers with innovations to collaborate with it, as this provides an additional option of expanding one’s concept of innovation and protection thereof.”
Asist. David Antolinc PhD
“The researchers of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering and the National Institute of Chemistry have collaborated with the Knowledge Transfer Office to prepare a European patent application; the Office also helped us to successfully promote our innovation at Innovation Day and Start.IP in Vienna. What I appreciated most when working with the Knowledge Transfer Office was their responsiveness, organised approach, great professionalism and kindness. I would recommend working with the Office to all researchers and companies, as their knowledge and assistance in protecting intellectual property are of extreme importance.”
Assist. Jelena Vasiljević PhD
“The Knowledge Transfer Office of the University of Ljubljana functions highly pro-actively. It immediately responds to applications, seeks partners by itself, actively suggests improvements and establishes connections. This is an office we truly needed and we are extremely pleased with the results.”
Prof. Borut Štrukelj PhD
“The Knowledge Transfer Office is distinguished by great professionalism and responsiveness, coupled with a sincere wish to develop the field of knowledge transfer at the University of Ljubljana. I believe everyone at the University should be familiar with the key processes undertaken by the Office.” - Prof. Dr. Andrej Kos
Andrej Kos PhD
“We recommend all partners, researchers and faculties engaged in science, innovations and ideas to avail themselves of the services offered by the Knowledge Transfer Office of the University of Ljubljana. Only if we join forces can we progress from having an idea to entering the business sector.”
Prof. Borut Štrukelj PhD
“The Knowledge Transfer Office helped us prepare an international patent application for new biopesticides, and to get in contact with an international company with extensive expertise in plant protection. This company expressed interest in testing our biopesticides, and so we have recently signed an NDA. This result exceeds all our expectations. The Office has demonstrated a great deal of professionalism, extreme efficiency and willingness to assist whenever help was required. They have enabled us to achieve something I thought was practically impossible.”
Prof. Kristina Sepčič PhD

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ipr@uni-lj.si

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