Disclosing your discoveries (Inventions)
Northern Arizona University encourages its faculty, staff and students to create and disseminate new knowledge. In the course of conducting research, investigators often make discoveries such as new materials, devices, processes, plant varieties and other tangible and intangible intellectual property—some of which may have potential commercial value. It is important that these discoveries are developed, protected, managed and disseminated to the benefit of the university, inventor(s), the State of Arizona, and society at large.
The first step in this process is recognizing that you may have made a discovery that may have a commercial application—i.e., you could envision the invention being bought and sold to solve a specific problem or need. The next step is to disclose the discovery, or invention, to NAU Innovations. We encourage you to disclose based on your discovery having a potential commercial application, even if you’re uncertain about how such an application could be commercialized or, more importantly, even if you don’t think that the discovery is patentable. Intellectual Property can be commercialized without being patented; furthermore, many discoveries originally thought to be unpatentable are, in fact, eventually patented. At NAU Innovations, we let the Patent Examiners decide!
Once submitted, your invention disclosure will be reviewed by NAU Innovations and an ownership determination made. You will then be contacted by us to discuss next steps, which may include filing a patent application, obtaining funding to prove a key concept or build a prototype, developing a commercialization plan, etc.