Office of the Provost

Patent Rights and Technology Transfer

Research is recognized as an integral part of the educational process to generate new knowledge, encourage the spirit of inquiry, and develop scientists, engineers, and other scholars. As a result of such research, new discoveries and inventions may be made by staff, faculty members, and students of the University, which could have material commercial value and which could contribute significantly to scientific, technological, social, and cultural progress. In the best interests of the public, the inventor, the University and, under certain circumstances, the government, these accomplishments should be patented. Specifically, new discoveries and inventions should be patented for any of the following reasons:

  • to encourage invention and ensure adequate rewards for the inventor;
  • to fulfill the terms of the research grant or contract;
  • to ensure protection and control in the public interest;
  • to generate income to the University for education and research; and
  • to provide the commercial and scientific advantages resulting from the development of useful articles, compositions of matter, machines, and processes.

The faculty members, staff, and students of the University are encouraged to evaluate the results of their research activities in terms of potential commercial value, the public interest, and the regional and national economy. Research programs culminating in potentially patentable discoveries and inventions may require further activity to provide protection and control in the public interest or to realize the commercial potential of the discovery or invention.

Certain discoveries and inventions resulting from University research may not be patentable but may have material commercial value or potential as revenue producers. These accomplishments are subject to the same University policies as any patentable invention and will be considered by the Office of Technology Management and, if required, by the University Technology Transfer Committee on an individual basis.

The University of Pittsburgh has a responsibility to contribute to the regional and national economy. Research and research accomplishments are among the areas in which this University can make a substantial contribution. New industries are created by new technologies that often emerge from new research. New and beneficial means must be found to relate the University's education and research to the research activities of corporate enterprise. Scientists and entrepreneurs must be brought together in a relationship of mutual advantage.

For additional information, such as procedures for applying for a patent and information on license or sale, refer to University Policy 11-02-01, Patent Rights and Technology Transfer. Questions about the Patent Policy and Procedures should be posed to the Office of Technology Management, telephone 412-648-2206.