In order to facilitate the protection of intellectual property discovered or developed by University of Mississippi employees, the Division of Technology Management has established a procedure by which investigators may disclose potential patentable inventions.
Disclosure of Intellectual Property
Principal investigators, group coordinators, or project team leaders should take the initiative in reporting a potentially commercializable invention or discovery (intellectual property). Early stage discoveries that appear to be commercially viable can be discussed with Division of Technology Management staff on a confidential basis to help investigators determine appropriate steps toward further development before a formal Research Disclosure is filed. This is particularly critical if publication or a presentation of the research is planned and/or if a thesis or dissertation is involved.
Once it is determined that a patentable invention may exist, the principal investigator, group coordinator or project team leader will be requested to complete a Research Disclosure Form, which provides detailed information that is needed to come to a full determination of patentability and commercial potential of the technology. Signed Research Disclosure Forms describing a potential invention should be forwarded to the Division of Technology Management (100 Barr Hall) to initiate the review process. A draft for publication can be attached to the form so that every field in the form does not have to be filled in its entirety.
Review Process for Research Disclosures
Discoveries by faculty, staff and student personnel are the property of The University of Mississippi and should be reported promptly to the ORSP Division of Technology Management (DTM) according to the UM Patent and Invention Policy. This can be accomplished using the Research Disclosure Form.
Once submitted to DTM, a Research Disclosure undergoes the processing detailed in the Research Disclosure Process Flowchart.
One of the primary factors in evaluating a research disclosure is whether a patent and literature search has been performed for the technology. These searches have two main goals.
- To determine if a patent has already issued or been filed claiming all or part of your technology.
- To determine if a patent, published patent application or published literature in any way describes all or part of your technology.
Both of these efforts help us describe what is called “prior art” for the technology. An assessment of the prior art is necessary to evaluate both possible patent protection and commercial development.
UM personnel submitting research disclosures can help facilitate our evaluation by performing these searches and providing relevant references at the time their disclosure is submitted. Your review and evaluation of the prior art and competing technologies is invaluable when contemplating patent protection options.
There are several electronic databases that are useful in performing a patent and literature search. Below are some of the most common resources that are recommended by our office:
Patent Search Tools
- US Patent and Trademark Office
- This site allows you to search both issued patents and published pending applications filed in the United States. It is important to check both areas of the database for a complete prior art evaluation.
- World International Property Office (WIPO)
- This site allows you to search published international applications, even if not filed in the U.S. All prior art references are relevant during patent prosecution, so it is important to check this site, in addition to the USPTO site.
- Google Patent Search
- This new function within the Google family of websites allows users to search issued U.S. patents in PDF format. Please note that published pending applications, international applications, and recently issued patents are not available at this time through this site.
Literature Search Tools
- Science specific search engine providing results from both journal and web sources.
- Service provided by the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health. Integrated search engine with a variety of mechanisms resulting in citations from Medline and other scientific journals.
- LexisNexis® Academic
- Search engine with fields for general, legal (patents) and news.
- SciFinder Scholar
- Search by research topic, author name, company name, chemical structure, molecular formula or browse all.