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Definitions
Intellectual Property: Intellectual property is an invention that may be protected under patent, trademark, trade secret, and/or copyright laws.

Patent: A patent gives the holder the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, and importing the patented invention. A patent does not necessarily provide the holder any affirmative right to practice a technology since it may fall under a broader patent owned by others. Instead, it provides the right to exclude others from practicing the invention. Patent claims are the numbered paragraphs drafted by patent attorneys that provide the legal definition of an inventor’s protectable invention.

Technology Transfer: Technology transfer is the transfer of knowledge and discoveries to the public. It can occur through publications, educated students entering the workforce, exchanges at conferences, relationships with the industry, and more. For the purposes of this guide, technology transfer refers to the formal licensing of technology to third parties under the guidance of professionals employed by universities, research foundations, and businesses.

Invention Disclosure: An Invention Disclosure is a written description of the invention or development that is provided to TTU. The Invention Disclosure should list all collaborating sources of support and include all of the information necessary to begin pursuing protection, marketing, and commercialization activities. The document will be treated by TTU personnel as “Confidential”. Based on the Invention Disclosure, TTU with the inventor’s assistance generate a non-confidential description of the invention in order to assist in marketing the technology. Once potential partners are identified, and confidentiality agreements signed, more detailed exchanges of information can be made.

License: Is a permission that the owner of intellectual property grants to another party, usually under a license agreement.

License agreement: A license agreement describes the rights and responsibilities related to the use and exploitation of intellectual property developed at the University. University license agreements usually stipulate that the licensee should diligently seek to bring the intellectual property into commercial use for the public good and provide a reasonable return to the University. The agreement sets milestones to meet, royalties and fees to be paid.

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA):  A non disclosure agreement protects propriety information shared between parties. It is also used to protect the confidentiality of an invention during evaluation by potential licensees. NDAs also protect proprietary information of third parties that University researchers need in order to conduct research or to evaluate research opportunities. 

Material Transfer Agreement (MTA): A material transfer agreement is used for incoming and outgoing materials to and from the University. These agreements describe the terms under which collaborating researchers share material, typically for research or evaluation purposes.

 Inter-Institutional Agreements: An Inter-Institutional agreement describes the terms under which two or more institutions (generally two universities) collaborate to assess, protect; market, license, and share in the revenues received from licensing jointly owned intellectual property.

Option Agreement: An option agreement or an option Clause within research agreements, describes the conditions under which the University preserves the opportunity for a third party to negotiate a license for intellectual property. Option clauses are often provided in a Sponsored Research Agreement to corporate research sponsors or Option Agreements are entered into with third parties wishing to evaluate the technology prior to entering into a full license agreement.

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