Technology Transfer Process

Technology Transfer - Research picking plant with tweezers

The knowledgeable staff at the Research Innovation Office are available to escort University of Guelph researchers along the journey of patenting and licensing their inventions and discoveries. 

Learn about the Licensing Opportunities available through the Research Innovation Office.

It's never too early in the research process to think about how your invention might be used and who it might benefit. Understanding these end points can help you determine how your knowledge can be shared with others and even generate ideas for partnerships.

If your research is yielding interesting results, but you are unsure whether it could actually become an invention, request a meeting with one of the Research Innovation Office’s Technology Transfer staff. These experienced professionals can help answer your questions and explore a course of action.

Whether you want to commercialize your research results yourself or in partnership with the University, the first required step is to disclose the invention to the Research Innovation Office.

Filling out a Report of Invention Form articulates what your invention is and what significant problem it may solve. It will also help you to think about who might buy it, what problems you might encounter and what kind of financing you’ll need to go forward.

If you want to commercialize your invention yourself, the Research Innovation Office must review the awards and contracts that contributed to its development to make sure that the University has no obligations regarding new Intellectual Property (IP). Examples include projects that have funding from the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, or funding from a company that was given rights to negotiate a licence to arising IP as part of the research contract.

If you do commercialize your invention yourself, you’ll be asked to sign an agreement granting the University the right to use it for teaching and research. The agreement also stipulates that you provide periodic updates to the University for reporting benefits to the economy.

If you decide to work with the Research Innovation team to commercialize your invention, our staff will review the Report of Invention with you, then conduct a patent search and market analysis to find out if the invention is likely to have commercial value. This evaluation will guide the strategy on protection and licensing.

At any time after reporting the invention, if the Research Innovation Office elects not to proceed with commercialization, then ownership will be offered back to you as the inventor.

Inventions are protected (e.g., by patents) to encourage investment from third parties. Patent applications must be filed prior to making an invention public, such as via a presentation, abstract or publication. 

The Research Innovation Office has the resources and expertise to develop a plan to market inventions to companies on behalf of researchers. 

Using the marketing plan, we will advertise the invention to prospective partners in a number of ways, including meetings, telephone calls, e-mails and website postings. Although we find existing research relationships are often a great place to start, our team is always on the lookout for new markets as well. 

If a licensing partner cannot be found, the invention will be reviewed to assess if further investment is warranted, such as by maintaining patent applications. After a report of invention, if the Research Innovation Office elects at any time not to proceed or continue supporting an invention, ownership of the invention will be offered back to the researcher.

Once a partner is found, we will negotiate a licence agreement on the researcher's behalf that grants the rights of commercialization to a company in exchange for financial and/or other benefits. Sometimes, an option agreement is reached to give the potential partner the right to evaluate the technology for a limited time before entering a licence agreement.

After the licence is signed, Research Innovation staff stay in contact with the company; we will request progress reports and collect revenue on behalf of the University and the researcher. Net revenue earned from licensing is shared 50:50 between you (the researcher), and the University. 

As a researcher, you can expect your earnings to be allocated to your college or department account. The University's portion of the proceeds is placed in a fund that helps to cover the Research Innovation Office's patenting expenses.