USU's pursuit of research excellence includes a commitment to developing new technologies that will benefit the public. Often, the most effective means of transfering this new knowledge to the public includes obtaining patents and licensing the technologies to both new and existing companies. The set of activities leading to successful integration of new ideas into the economy is often referred to as "technology transfer," or "technology commercialization."
Funding from the U.S. Government has become a primary source of support for U.S. universities in their quest to fulfill their research and outreach missions. USU performs in excess of $150 million per year in contracts and grants funded by numerous government agencies. In 1980, Congress passed legislation, known as the Bayh-Dole Act, that provides institutions of higher education the opportunity and the responsibility to own and manage intellectual property created under these funded contracts. One of the primary requirements under Bayh-Dole is for universities to report to the government the creation of new inventions that are supported by federal funding.
USU employees who are involved in developing new technologies, especially those funded through federal contracts or grants, should coordinate their work with the Technology Commercialization Office (TCO). The first step for an inventor is to provide an invention disclosure to TCO. Licensing associates there will be able to guide USU personnel through the process of protecting and licensing the technology. Once inventions have been disclosed to them, TCO also has the primary responsibility for notifying the appropriate federal agency of the invention and coordinating patenting and reporting requirements with them.
The Office of Compliance Assistance works with the TCO in assuring that all required steps have been taken to allow the federal government to take advantage of its government-purpose license in technologies invented through funded programs, and that government funding is acknowledged in any issuing patent.