OIP - Here for Our Investigators
OIP staff members will be pleased to come talk with department faculty about the services that OIP offers. If you are interested in an informal presentation at a faculty meeting, let us know when and where. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
UW-Madison research faculty and staff relationships with industry are an increasingly common and important part of research and education at the University. The goal of many of these mutually-beneficial relationships is to take our research into the marketplace. The links below and the information that follows are meant to provide you with guidance and answer your questions.
Disclosing an Invention
What do you do if you think you have made a novel discovery that could have commercial benefits? This link provides simple guidance on how to disclose your invention to the University for patentability and commercialization assessment.
Working with Industry
All research on the campus is governed by a set of regulations. These safeguards exist to protect you. This link provides tips on what to think about when working with industry.
IP for the Researcher
UW-Madison is unique in that it does not claim ownership of an investigator's intellectual property. This does not preclude the many instances where a contractual agreement, or funding from a federal agency, requires that IP be owned by the University. This link provides you with a site that gives an overview of how the University technology transfer groups work, including patent basics, copyright matters, frequently asked questions, and a guide to the Bayh-Dole Act. While Bayh-Dole concerns itself only with federal awards, it may impact your research in some way.
Below you will find the answers to questions that are often asked when an investigator first considers working with an industrial partner:
If my intellectual property potentially has commercial value, will I be able to publish the results of my research? What about my graduate students?
As a fundamental philosophy, UW-Madison will not accept agreements that limit the publication of your work, or that of your students. However, we may agree, with your permission, to delay the publication for a certain period of time, usually no more than 90 days. While a company may review the publication for such things as confidential information, under no circumstances will they be able to alter or disallow you to publish your research findings.
If you think you have a patentable invention, the first step is to file an Invention Disclosure form and talk with someone from WARF, Administrative Legal Services, or OIP before disclosing the invention to anyone outside the university. This includes any kind of presentations, lectures, posters, web sites, dissertations, proposal submission, etc. Patent laws in countries other than the U.S. must be considered, and these laws vary greatly by country. Once publicly disclosed, an invention may have restricted or minimal potential for patent protection in the United States and world-wide.
Will I be able to share materials, research tools or intellectual property with others to further their research?
Yes, but it is important to document items that are to be shared with others and the conditions of use. For example, if you wish to send materials to an outside collaborator, an outgoing Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) should be completed for this purpose. We encourage the use of the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement if working with other institutons, or the Simple Letter Agreement when working with Industry. These agreements are much the same and allow such transfers to be made swiftly and easily. In other cases, it also may be appropriate to have a Confidentiality Agreement (also called a Non-disclosure Agreement) completed to protect your pre-publication research results or intellectual property.
What About Consulting?
Consulting agreements are made to you as an individual, not to the university. Such consulting must be outside of the normal scope of your employment. There are guidelines to help you when you are considering such an agreement, but they are not negotiated or reviewed by the University. You will want to familiarize yourself with the policies of the University and your school or college relevant to consulting activities.
Staff at the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic are happy to review consulting agreements and provide other assistance.
An excellent document provided by the Association of University Technology Managers may be accessed at this link: In the Public Interest: Nine Points to Consider in Licensing University Technology.
Questions? Contact OIP:
William W. Barker, Interim Director
Robert (Bob) Gratzl, Industrial Partnerships Specialist
Richelle Martin, Industrial Partnerships Specialist
Office of Industrial Partnerships
202 Bascom Hall
500 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI 53706