Step 1: Disclose
The technology commercialization process begins with the UNM inventor disclosing an invention in writing by submitting an invention disclosure form (IDF). There are two ways to submit an IDF; the preferred method is via UNM Rainforest Innovations’ online invention disclosure portal called Sophia, and the alternative is by submitting a paper (hard-copy) IDF. In either form, the inventor is submitting it to the Office of University Counsel and to UNM Rainforest Innovations. Each method is discussed in detail below:
- Inventors start by logging into the Sophia system found at this link: https://unm.wellspringsoftware.net/kms/. From there, inventors log-in using their existing UNM NET ID as the Username and corresponding password (do not include @unm.edu or the email extension of your UNM email address). If you do not have a UNM NET ID and password, please contact UNM Rainforest Innovations for assistance.
- The online IDF system walks inventors through the disclosure process by asking questions related to the lead inventor and other co-inventors, dates of conception of the invention, funding sources, and details of any past or pending public disclosures. It also asks for a short summary of the invention and a complete description of the invention, which can be provided in the form of attached documents.
- Any supporting documents (manuscripts, publications, posters, write-ups, summaries, images, etc.) and all related grants or funding documents should be uploaded through the system and attached to the disclosure in the supporting files section.
- Once the IDF is complete, UNM Rainforest Innovations will contact all of the inventors to arrange for collecting dated signatures of all inventors, dated signatures of witnesses who understand the invention, and the dated signature of the department chair.
The information submitted in the Invention Disclosure Form and related files are then used to develop a patent application and marketing/commercialization materials.
- Depending on the type of disclosure, i.e. invention or copyright, Inventors start by downloading the disclosure form by clicking on the appropriate link on the right side of this page.
- The lead inventor should fill out the IDF form in its entirety. This include filling out all sections 1-6 including information on the lead inventor and other co-inventors, dates of conception of the invention, funding sources, and details of any past or pending public disclosures. It also asks for a short summary of the invention and a complete description of the invention, which can be provided in the form of attached documents.
- Any supporting documents (manuscripts, publications, posters, write-ups, summaries, images, etc.) and all related grants or funding documents should be attached to the disclosure when submitted. Digital versions of the supporting files will be requested later by UNM Rainforest Innovations staff.
- Once the IDF is complete, the lead inventor may submit it without signatures and UNM Rainforest Innovations will work to gather the necessary signatures after receipt of the disclosure. If preferred, the inventors may coordinate and gather the necessary signatures on the document including the dated signatures of all inventors, dated signatures of witnesses who understand the invention, and the dated signature of the department chair. Additionally, the IDF requires that each inventor sign and have notarized an assignment of rights page at the end of the IDF form; the inventors name and address and the title of the invention must be added to each assignment form before it is signed and notarized.
- The hard-copy IDF can be submitted in the following ways:
- Via e-mail to UNM Rainforest Innovations’ Disclosures and Agreements Coordinator
- Via Postal Mail to STC (Lobo Rainforest Building, 101 Broadway Blvd NE, Suite 1100, Albuquerque, NM 87102)
- Via UNM’s intercampus mail system (UNM MS 04 2750)
Step 2: Evaluation
The completed invention disclosure form (IDF) is reviewed by UNM Rainforest Innovations to ensure the completeness of the invention description and for evaluation of the technology for intellectual property protection. UNM Rainforest Innovations may request additional information from the inventors to fully understand the disclosed invention. The evaluation of the disclosed idea includes the protectability and commercial potential.
Step 3: Intellectual Property Protection
Patenting is the most commonly considered method of intellectual property protection; however, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are other means of intellectual property protection.
Step 4: Marketing and Commercialization
Marketing of an invention may begin as soon as it is disclosed or at least as soon as a provisional patent application or utility patent application is filed, or some other intellectual property protection has been initiated. Successful marketing is often the product of close collaboration between inventors and UNM Rainforest Innovations.
UNM Rainforest Innovations begins by preparing a non-confidential description of the invention which includes links to manuscripts, videos or any public documents related to the invention. This non-confidential description of the invention is posted on UNM Rainforest Innovations’ website through Flintbox as a means of advertising that the technology is available for licensing.
Through market research, networking and with the materials prepared, UNM Rainforest Innovations identifies applications for its inventions and contacts established companies to generate interest in its technology portfolio. Inventors may have connections with industry, entrepreneurs, and/or investors and UNM Rainforest Innovations encourages that you share that information with UNM Rainforest Innovations’ Director of Commercialization.
For those inventions suitable for a start-up, UNM Rainforest Innovations works to link business entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and UNM faculty to support the development of a start-up company. Several meetings are held per week to preview technologies to investors and entrepreneurs. UNM Rainforest Innovations has a preference, whenever possible, to commercialize its technologies within New Mexico. The Joseph L. Cecchi VentureLab (CVL), UNM Rainforest Innovations’ business incubator program, was created to provide the support and information that start-ups need to thrive. The CVL has several resources and is a connection point for university faculty, staff, and student inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, and others. The CVL assists with the commercialization of UNM technologies by facilitating the formation of startup companies.
UNM Rainforest Innovations negotiates agreements with established or start-up companies. Terms of these agreements depend on a number of factors, such as the size of the market opportunity, contribution of the technology, and the approach to commercializing the technology.