Frequently Asked Questions
UTHealth Patent Quick Reference Guide (coming soon)
- What does the Office of Technology Management (OTM) do?
OTM is responsible for assessing, protecting, and commercializing the intellectual property generated by faculty, staff, and students at UTHealth. OTM also aids in establishing and further coordinating the Biotechnology Commercialization Center (BCC) at UTHealth.
- What is the first step in protecting my invention/work?
Contact OTM and let us know of your invention/work before any planned public disclosure, including the publication of abstracts and manuscripts, poster presentations outside of UTHealth, and discussing the invention/work with any non-UTHealth personnel, including companies.
- What exactly is the report form and why do I need to fill it out?
The report form is a legal document that details the inventors/creators’ information as well as details regarding the invention/work. It is very important that this form is filled out clearly and completely.
- When should I disclose my invention or work to OTM?
As soon as you can and earlier the better.
- If I disclose my invention or work to OTM, am I still free to publish?
Yes, we will coordinate protection actions with any planned publication to the best of our ability.
- What is a patentable invention?
Discoveries that is a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter. It must also be non-obvious, meaning that if at the time of the invention that the invention would have been obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art, then it is obvious and unpatentable.
- What is a copyrightable work?
There are eight categories of works that are copyrightable including: literary musical and dramatic works; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; sound recordings; motion pictures and other AV works; computer programs; compilations of works and derivative works; and architectural works.
- What if I’m not sure if my idea is patentable or copyrightable?
Don’t worry - just contact our office and we can discuss your invention/work and assess whether it is patentable/copyrightable.
- Who is an inventor? Who is a creator?
Inventors of a patentable invention are individuals who made an inventive contribution to the subject matter claimed. Thus, individuals who merely performed experiments and gathered data are not considered inventors unless they also made an inventive contribution. A creator of a copyrightable work is an individual that created an original expression in a work.
- Does UTHealth own an invention or work that I created on my own time?
It depends whether or not it lies within the scope/field of your employment at UTHealth.
- A company has shown interest in my unpublished work, what should I do?
Contact OTM and let us know about your invention/work. OTM will assess the situation and a confidentiality agreement with the company may be put in place.
- I’m about to go to a conference to talk about my work, what should I do?
If you have a possible patentable invention or copyrightable work, please contact OTM prior to the conference to let us know about your invention/work. OTM will assess the situation and possible steps to protect the technology/work.
- Can UTHealth faculty participate in the formation of and hold positions in a new startup?
Yes, with departmental chair approval and an applicable conflict of interest management plan, although OTM encourages participation be limited to Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).
- If my invention is licensed to a company, what compensation will I receive?
Compensation may include equity in the company, a share in licensing or royalty revenues received by UTHealth, sponsored research funding, or income if you are a consultant of the company or a member of the SAB.
- Can UTHealth make small investments in a new startup?
- Is there a list of UTHealth startup companies?
Yes! Please visit the Portfolio Companies page on OTM's website.
- Where can I find out more information about startups at UTHealth?
More information about startups at UTHealth is available here on OTM's website or by downloading OTM's startup brochure.
- What is the royalty sharing policy?
Pursuant to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Intellectual Property Policy (Policy 201), and after certain costs of licensing and patenting are recaptured (i.e. outside patenting costs), UTHealth divides any remaining royalty income as follows: 50% Creator(s); 5% Lab of Creator(s); 5% School of Creator(s); 5% Department of Creators; 35% Office of Technology Management.