Intellectual Property

The primary mission of universities is to create, preserve and disseminate knowledge. When that knowledge takes the form of intellectual property, a university must establish a clear and explicit policy that will protect the interests of both its creators and the university while ensuring that society benefits from the fair and full dissemination of that knowledge.

Intellectual property (IP) is defined by the World Intellectual Property Organization as “creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; symbols, names and images used in commerce.” IP is protected in law by patents, copyrights and trademarks.

TU maintains a clear and explicit policy that protects the interests of both its creators and the university while ensuring that society benefits from the fair and full dissemination of that knowledge. TU also fulfills its obligations to sponsors that support research that leads to IP creation.

To protect inventions, faculty members and others must not disclose it publicly until ensuring adequate protection is in place. Public disclosure includes any publication or presentation, including on-campus presentations. Such disclosure eliminates the patentability of the IP. If it is necessary to disclose IP, it is essential that a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) be completed before the IP is shared. The OSPR will work with you to negotiate the NDA using TU’s NDA, which was developed by the Office of the General Counsel, or other similar agreement.

Complete the Invention Disclosure Form (PDF) as soon as you have intellectual property that requires protection. This form is the first step in obtaining a patent for your invention. It allows TU to move forward with a provisional application for protection of the IP prior to submitting a full patent application if warranted.

Contact Nancy Dufau, Assistant Vice President for Sponsored Programs and Research, 4-5822, , for assistance with an NDA or the Invention Disclosure Form.

For more information, please consult the full Towson University Policy on Intellectual Property-TU Policy: 04-03.20.

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