The University of South Florida’s Tech Transfer Office experiences a significant increase in the number of inventions and technologies submitted, thanks to streamlined processes and the assistance of research interns.
The University of South Florida’s Tech Transfer Office has witnessed a remarkable rise in the number of inventions and technologies submitted by USF researchers. With the implementation of new tools and the valuable contributions of research interns, the university has seen a nearly 25 percent increase in the number of new inventions, technologies, and works of authorship disclosed since 2019. This surge in innovation can be attributed to the introduction of a simplified inventor portal and the diligent efforts of graduate student interns who assist in evaluating the novelty and patentability of each invention.
Streamlining the Disclosure Process:
To enhance the disclosure process and facilitate patent filings, the Tech Transfer Office launched an inventor portal last year. This digital platform replaces traditional handwritten forms and provides a centralized location for all necessary documents and resources. The transition to the inventor portal has resulted in a steady increase in disclosures, reaching a total of 228 in fiscal year 2023. Researchers have found the new system to be significantly more user-friendly, allowing them to focus on their work and navigate the patent process more efficiently.
The Role of Research Interns:
A team of graduate student interns plays a crucial role in the evaluation of each innovation’s novelty and patentability. Led by intern program coordinator Cheryl Abrigo, these interns meticulously examine the inventions to determine if they meet the novelty requirements set by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. By conducting extensive research and utilizing various sources such as patent databases, YouTube, Amazon, and Florida Sun Biz, the interns ensure that the inventions are not already publicly available or being used by businesses. Their efforts save inventors valuable time and enable them to concentrate on their research.
Supporting Inventors on the Journey:
John Cotter, a recent USF mechanical engineering graduate, exemplifies the support provided by the Tech Transfer Office. Cotter’s doctoral studies focused on creating a lumber alternative using recycled plastics. With the assistance of the Tech Transfer Office, Cotter successfully navigated the patent process for his invention. He commended the office for their guidance, particularly in helping him understand and navigate the complexities of patents. The Tech Transfer Office’s support has enabled Cotter to take the next steps in his journey, including further testing his nailable rubber concrete and publishing the results. The office is now assisting him in establishing a startup company to manufacture the concrete into fences and expand into other sectors.
Promoting Visibility and Legitimate Licensing:
To promote visibility and collaboration, the Tech Transfer Office launched a website where completed technologies and inventions, such as Cotter’s, are showcased to the public. This platform allows businesses and entrepreneurs to review available technologies and submit inquiries for licensing. The research interns play a crucial role in ensuring the legitimacy of requests by conducting background checks on businesses and their owners, safeguarding the interests of USF inventors.
The University of South Florida’s Tech Transfer Office has experienced a significant surge in inventions and technologies, thanks to the implementation of new tools and the dedicated work of research interns. The inventor portal has streamlined the disclosure process, resulting in an increase in the number of disclosures. The intern team’s meticulous evaluation of each innovation’s novelty has saved inventors valuable time and facilitated their research. The Tech Transfer Office’s support and guidance have empowered inventors like John Cotter to navigate the patent process and take their ideas to the next level. By providing a platform for visibility and legitimate licensing, the office ensures that USF’s intellectual property is protected while fostering collaboration and innovation. The rise in inventions and technologies at USF is a testament to the university’s commitment to research excellence and its ability to transform ideas into global solutions.