A Message for University Inventors

A Message for University Inventors

By Tech Launch Arizona
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A drawing from Patent 3,807,088, which was filed May 1, 1972. The invention, a Controlled Environment Hydroponic System, was invented at the UA. (Image courtesy of Tech Launch Arizona)
A drawing from Patent 3,807,088, which was filed May 1, 1972. The invention, a Controlled Environment Hydroponic System, was invented at the UA. (Image courtesy of Tech Launch Arizona)
David Allen
David Allen

David Allen, vice president of Tech Launch Arizona, has issued a reminder to the University of Arizona community about the value of commercializing inventions that have the potential to make people's lives better.

"Through research and development," Allen wrote in a letter to faculty, staff, researchers and others, "University of Arizona community members like you develop breakthrough ideas and inventions that can change the world."

Allen's letter gives an overview of the resources available to inventors and how to get started.

The first step, he says, is a simple phone call or meeting between a TLA licensing manager and the inventor or inventors. Once that happens, the TLA team goes into action and begins evaluating the commercial value of the invention, and "moving it along the path to commercialization."

A full list of TLA licensing managers – dedicated to UA colleges and specific technical focuses – can be found on the TLA website.

The full text of Allen's message is below.

Last year alone, the faculty, researchers and staff of the University of Arizona brought over 250 inventions to Tech Launch Arizona, the office that helps the UA community bring those inventions to the marketplace.

Many of these inventions – such as novel compounds, materials, drugs, devices, processes or software code – are developed from the outset with the ultimate goal of creating a product that solves a real-world problem. On the other hand, some are invented almost as if by accident, such as in the unexpected results of an experiment, or software that was developed for one application, but turns out with some adjustments to have another that the creator hadn't considered.

Inventions like these come from faculty doing research, graduate students and staff innovating solutions to hard problems, software developers and others. All of these people are developing breakthrough ideas every day that can change the world.

Tech Launch Arizona provides the people and resources to help bring those inventions to the marketplace. From assessing the technical and commercial viability of inventions to protecting those inventions to commercializing them, TLA helps the UA community turn inventions into products that create jobs and improve lives. Through its Asset Development program, TLA even offers funding to help inventors move their early-stage inventions toward market-readiness.  

Disclosing Inventions

Disclosure is the first step towards commercialization – the process of bringing an invention to the marketplace. It allows TLA to examine the patentability and market opportunities for a creation.

Commercialization benefits inventors through advancing professional reputations and serving as a metric for consideration during the Promotion & Tenure process; inventors also receive a share of financial returns as outlined in the UA's Revenue Distribution model.

For entrepreneurial graduate students, commercialization opens opportunities to lead UA startups, such as in the case of Dr. Shiva Planjery of Codelucida, and Dr. Loretta Mayer of Senestech.

Finally, thinking about the global picture, commercialization makes research relevant to the general public, which advances reputations of departments, colleges and the whole university.

For questions about the process or to talk about an invention with TLA, contact either the person based on your area of focus below or Doug Hockstad, Assistant Vice President for Technology Transfer.

Thank you for being a UA inventor! If you haven't talked with your TLA licensing manager recently, we invite you to get back in touch. Please forward this message to your colleagues or share a link to the column on the TLA website.

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