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Why NIH Scientists Need to Report an Invention

Why You Should Report Your Discoveries

As an NIH scientist, you must report new inventions, including improvements of previously reported inventions, to the Technology Transfer Manager assigned to your Laboratory. If you do not know the name of your TTM, please call or email the Technology Transfer Center

What is an Invention?

Generally, a patentable discovery, or invention, must be something new, not obvious, and unique. Reportable inventions can include compositions of matter, devices, and methodologies. Reportable inventions also include unique biological materials with commercial applications such as transgenic mice and cell lines. Formal patentability assessments of your inventions will be performed by TTM in conjunction with patent attorneys.

When Should You Report an Invention?

Timely reporting of inventions is critical because either failing to report your discovery prior to public disclosure, or submitting your Employee Invention Report (EIR)  at the last minute or immediately before disclosure may result in loss of important patent property rights that could prevent your invention from being developed and used to benefit the public.

In general, a “public disclosure” is the release of information about the discovery in sufficient detail to allow a fellow scientist in the field to make, use, or apply the invention to their research. 

Public disclosures include:

  • Talks, presentations, seminars, posters
  • Publications, including abstracts on websites
  • Internet postings
  • Graduate student theses, job interviews
  • Discussions with non-NIH personnel without a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA) in place
Please don't hesitate to contact the TTC should you have any questions.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016