Protecting the Innovation

A patent application must be filed within 1 year of public disclosure of enabling information. Therefore, if a Georgia Tech innovator is interested in commercializing an invention, it is important to contact the Office of Industry Engagement as early in the process as possible. It is critical that Georgia Tech innovators contact Industry Engagement before making any public disclosures (e.g., a publication or conference presentation), so we can help protect the innovation.

In most cases, we will begin by filing a provisional patent application for the innovation. A provisional application is a faster, less expensive application used to establish a priority date with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). After filing a provisional patent application, the applicant has 1 year in which to file a complete application and any foreign applications (if the provisional was filed prior to any public disclosure). The provisional patent enables Industry Engagement to evaluate the invention more thoroughly to determine whether to proceed with a full application.

If a full application is not filed within 12 months of the provisional application’s filing date, the provisional application will lapse. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the statutory deadline in order to ensure that an invention is protected.

Open Source, Know-How, and Scholarly Works:

Open Source, know-how, and scholarly works are intellectual property for which Georgia Tech is less concerned about statutory protection.

Open Source generally refers to software that is freely distributed in source code form. While all Open Source carries copyright protection in the same way that other software does, seeking patent protection precludes the use of Open Source licenses. Georgia Tech was one of the original seven university signatories of IBM’s Open Collaboration Research Principles. Provided that George Tech does not have a contractual obligation to the contrary, Open Source is a potentially effective and efficient means of disseminating research results. Learn more about Open Source at the Open Source Initiative.

Know-how is knowledge of how to do something or a faculty or skill for a particular thing. While at times know-how may not be commonly known and may be kept as a “trade secret,” most of Georgia Tech’s know-how is widely disseminated through training of students, publications in peer-review journals, and conference proceedings. Georgia Tech normally will grant only non-exclusive rights to know-how because of its ill-defined nature.

Scholarly works are papers, articles, books, and other publications that are produced through individual effort and initiative and not as part of an assigned duty, and they may be subject to copyright. Georgia Tech recognizes and encourages the publication of scholarly works as an integral part of the processes of teaching and research. GTRC does not claim title to such scholarly works.

Once a Georgia Tech innovation has been protected, we may begin marketing the innovation.