Intellectual property (IP) created or developed by university employees using USD resources, including time, facilities and resident expertise, is owned by the South Dakota Board of Regents and managed by the university. The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) promotes USD technology by protecting, marketing and licensing USD inventions to others for further development and commercialization.
Once an innovator can concisely define an invention, an Invention Disclosure Form should be completed and submitted to the TTO. This disclosure is valuable because, once finalized, it establishes a legal record of the invention while helping to facilitate assessment and management of the technology. The TTO then meets with the inventor(s) to review the technology, discuss possible protection measures, and develop potential commercialization strategies. The University Senate IP Committee also reviews the invention disclosure and makes recommendations about patentability and commercial potential. The decision about whether or not to file a patent application is based upon novelty, utility, licensing opportunities, and market potential of the innovation.
Often, there is not enough information to make a completely informed decision about whether to move forward with an invention when it is first disclosed. In some instances, the TTO will file a provisional patent to temporarily protect the invention while more information is gathered.
To ensure proper protection for innovations, it is important to contact the TTO prior to any public disclosure of the innovation. Public disclosures include talking to others about the innovation, a presentation, paper, abstract, or online disclosure. This is important because an inventor who publicly discloses their invention before obtaining protection must file a patent application within one (1) calendar year in the U.S. and can lose their invention rights elsewhere in the world.
If you have an idea that you would like to share with someone outside of the university, but you’re not sure whether your idea counts as an invention, contact the TTO by email at TTO@usd.edu or by phone at 605-658-3768, and we will help you figure out the best next step.