Under Washington University in St. Louis’s Intellectual Property (IP) policy, creators are required to disclose to OTM inventions made using significant university resources and/or pursuant to a research project funded through corporate, federal or other external sponsors.
Helpful Forms
Invention Disclosure Form .pdf   |  .dotx
Materials Disclosure Form .pdf   |  .docx
Software Disclosure Form .pdf   |  .doc

What is an Invention?

The discovery or creation of a new material (either a new manufactured product or a new composition or matter), a new process, a new use for an existing material, or any improvements of any of these.

If you think you have discovered an invention with commercial possibility we encourage you to contact our office as soon as possible and submit an Invention Disclosure Form well in advance of making the invention public.

Technology Transfer Process

We have broken out the process into six distinctive steps.  OTM is here to help you every step of the way, from submission of your Invention Disclosure to Development and Commercialization of the product.

Step 1: Invention Disclosure Submission

  • Inventor submits an invention disclosure form to OTM that:
    • describes the invention;
    • lists the names of all creators;
    • provides funding information;
    • discloses other information (e.g. potential publications) that is important for assessing the invention.
  • The invention disclosure form can be found on at the top of this page.
  • Inventors should submit the completed invention disclosure form via email to

Step 2: Invention Assessment

  • OTM evaluates the invention to determine:
    • the appropriate intellectual property protection mechanism (e.g. patent).
    • the potential commercial applications/products and the market(s).
  • Generally the OTM evaluation process takes 60 days from the date of submission.
    • The outcome of the analysis is communicated to the creators through an in person meeting, by phone or email.
    • There are multiple outcomes of the analysis:
      • Protect the invention (see step 3);
      • More research being required for the invention to be protected or commercialized;
      • Commercialize the technology without protection (see step 4);
      • In some circumstances, OTM will not retain ownership (in which case a discussion around return of IP will occur).

Step 3: Intellectual Property Protection

  • OTM protects the intellectual property using the appropriate mechanism (e.g. filing a patent, registering a copyright, etc.).
  • OTM informs inventors of the protection chosen and corresponding rights and restrictions.
  • If patent protection is opted, then OTM works with the creators and selected external patent counsel to draft a patent application.

Step 4: Marketing and Outreach

  • OTM identifies potential industry partners and delivers to them a non-confidential marketing package promoting the technology.
  • OTM solicits feedback from industry contacts and facilitates technical discussions between interested parties and the creators.
  • OTM sets up a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement (CDA/NDA) to protect information exchange between the interested parties and the creators.

Step 5: Licensing of Intellectual Property

  • Once an industry partner expresses interest in commercializing Washington University intellectual property, OTM drafts and negotiates a licensing agreement.
  • The licensing agreement includes both financial terms (e.g. milestone payments, royalty payments, etc.) and diligence milestones that define timelines and goals for the development and commercialization of the technology.

Step 6: Product Development and Commercialization

  • The industry partner develops and commercializes the Washington University technology in accordance with the diligence milestones set forth in the licensing agreement.
  • According to the financial terms of the agreement, the industry partner will make payments to Washington Universtiy, and OTM will distribute a percentage of this income to the technology’s creators per the University’s IP policy.
  • OTM will solicit progress reports annually from the company to assess progress against development milestones.