Procedures for Handling Intellectual Property (IP)

All UNO faculty, staff, and some students fall under the provisions of the Faculty and Staff Handbook, updated and distributed annually before the start of fall classes. The subject of Intellectual Property Policy is covered in the section entitled Research and Sponsored Programs and a copy of the policy is included as an appendix. All faculty, staff, and those students who receive a wage (pay check) from UNO are encouraged to review the Handbook and in particular the Intellectual Property Policy. A downloadable copy of the UNO Intellectual Property Policy (7112) can be found here.

Researchers and others are encouraged to maintain a Laboratory notebook and follow UNO Laboratory Record Keeping Procedures. The notebook should be used to keep a record of the results of experiments and design activities. Some centers maintain a supply of suitable laboratory books for this purpose. The Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization can also assist you in locating such a book.

As soon as an invention is made, it should be recorded on Technology Disclosure Form and submitted to the Office of Technology Management and Commercialization. Please be advised that it is not possible to patent a mere idea or suggestion, there must also be a reduction to practice. Also as mentioned on criteria for patentability is novelty (or no prior publications). Ideally, therefore, the best time to file a Technology Disclosure is after you have demonstrated that your idea works but before you publish anything on the subject. Do not submit a manuscript or abstract describing the technology before conferring with the office since public disclosure prior to submitting a patent application may restrict patent rights.  In the event that the invention is part of a dissertation or thesis, alert our office as soon as possible and we will help you.

All faculty, staff, and administrators having oversight of dissertations, thesis, proposals, papers submitted for publication, and workshop/seminar presentations can assist by looking for evidence of inventions in these documents and contacting this office. In such cases, a completed Technology Disclosure Form is not necessary - simply submit a copy of the document containing the possible invention along with a brief note. This will start a review process that may lead to a request that an be submitted by the inventor.

The best rule for an inventor to follow is to call or come to the Office of Technology Management and Commercialization if there are any questions or concern. Most matters are readily handled. In some cases, this office will obtain additional assistance from attorneys experienced in the management and protection of intellectual property.

The submission of a filled Technology Disclosure Form to OTMC triggers an evaluation that involves the investigation of many complex patent/legal, ownership, and business related questions. This process is described in greater detail at the overview of the Technology Transfer Process.

Before divulging confidential information about your research to people outside of UNO, particularly to company representatives/scientists, it is always a good practice to ask them to sign a standard UNO Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) first. This helps to preserve patent rights for the University and the non-use provisions prevents the recipient from building on your ideas. Just forward their contact information to us along with a description of the subject matter that you’d like to discuss. We’ll then provide them with a copy of our standard NDA for execution and if necessary negotiate any changes they’d like to make to the agreement. Once the NDA is put in place we’ll notify you so that you can discuss your technology freely.