Frequently Asked Questions

General UIRF Questions

What is the UIRF and how is it connected to the University?
The UIRF (The University of Iowa Research Foundation) is a private, self-sustaining, non-profit organization closely aligned with The University of Iowa. The UIRF is a member of the newly formed IOWA Centers for Enterprise. IOWA Centers for Enterprise is an umbrella organization composed of six members brought together as the focal point for UI’s economic development efforts. Broadly, the UIRF is responsible for transferring university-developed technologies into commercialization opportunities for the benefit of the public and for return on investment. This is done through protection of UI intellectual property, new venture formation, and licensing activities.

Where are your offices?
We are located in the University Capitol Centre (the second floor of the Old Capitol Mall) in downtown Iowa City. A map of our location as well as more specific directions can be found in the Contact Us portion of our site.

Does the UIRF provide patenting and commercialization services for individuals outside of the University?
The UIRF acts solely on behalf of The University of Iowa. If you have technologies that complement or supplement UI research or technologies, partnering may be a possibility in selected cases. Contact Diane Gallagher in the Office of Corporate Partnerships to discuss possible UI partners. If you’re not affiliated with the University and are interested in commercializing your technology, we can provide you with a list of Iowa intellectual property attorneys, and you may wish to contact the Small Business Development Center. or the Entrepreneurial Development Center for entrepreneurial consulting.

Questions from Inventors

How long will it take to get my invention commercialized?
The commercialization process can vary significantly. The timeline is a function of many factors including the stage of development, finding an interested commercial partner, and the market readiness of the idea or innovation.

Am I the legal owner of the intellectual property?
Generally, the University owns the outcome of research conducted by faculty, staff within UI facilities. There are important exceptions, however, including personal ownership of copyrightable works of scholarship, research, or pedagogy, as well as original works of art and literature. Please refer to The University of Iowa policies on patents and copyrights to determine if your particular invention or copyrighted work must be disclosed to the UIRF. To reflect the many University contributors required to make commercialization possible, the UI subscribes to the practice of sharing the rewards of commercialization with the key stakeholders- the inventor, the associated department and college, an institution-wide research enrichment fund, and the UIRF.

How am I compensated for the creation of commercialized intellectual property?
Inventors share the first $100,000 of *net* licensing revenues, and 25% of subsequent net revenues. The UIRF distributes an additional 50% of earnings to the inventors' department, college, and the research enrichment fund managed by the Vice President for Research, and retains the final 25% share to support filing of new patent applications.

How do I know if my research or invention is patentable?
To be patentable, an invention must be: 1) useful, 2) novel, and 3) non-obvious to those skilled in the art. For more information, please see Intellectual Property Basics, or call us with questions regarding the patentability of your idea or innovation.

How do I copyright my work?
Copyright automatically attaches to copyrightable works once they have been placed on a tangible medium, i.e. paper. Although there may be advantages for doing so, there is no actual need to file for a federal copyright registration for protection. There is also no requirement that copyrighted works be marked with the copyright © symbol, although we suggest that all copyrighted works be so identified.

Once I submit an Invention Disclosure, how long will it take to secure a patent?
Once you've submitted an Invention Disclosure, staff will screen and evaluate your invention to determine the patent and market potential as detailed in the Intellectual Property Review section. This evaluation can take between 4-6 weeks, and if pursued, the patent application process would begin after that. The United States Patent and Trademark Office patent processing time can vary considerably from months to many years, depending on the complexity of the patent, the field of invention, and the number of arguments that must be filed or considered.

How much will it cost me to patent my invention?
The UIRF will pay all fees relating to IP protection, which can easily amount to many thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars through external patent attorney fees and USPTO fees.

Are there any important steps I need to take in order to protect my idea prior to patenting?
YES. There are steps that need to be taken in order to secure the patentability of your innovation. These are detailed under Ensuring IP Protection.

Who should I contact with questions or for guidance with my invention?
Please contact one of the following individuals for questions on the invention process:

Zev Sunleaf 319-335-4155Executive Director

Shannon Sheehan 319-335-4605Sr. Licensing Associate

Catherine Koh 319-335-4659Sr. Licensing Associate

Sean Kim 319-335-4607Sr. Licensing Associate

Kellen Sensor 319-335-4073Licensing Associate

  


Questions from Industry

What is the process for licensing a UIRF technology?
We will be pleased to explore with you technologies of interest to your company. If there is continued interest in a technology after reviewing publicly available information, we will request that you enter a confidentiality agreement with us to cover further discussions and sharing of information. We will then be pleased to provide you with a term sheet summarizing the important financial and diligence terms to be set forth in a license or option. You may wish to view our database of Available Technologies, or contact a licensing professional to discuss available technologies. See also our Licensing Process.

How much does it cost to license a technology?
Licensing agreements will vary greatly, depending on the nature of the technology, the commercialization mechanism, the exclusivity of the license, and the fields of the license. A License Agreement may include any or all of the following: an initial licensing fee, reimbursement of patenting costs, developmental and time-based milestone payments, and royalties based on sales of products related to the licensed technology. A license will also include due diligence requirements to ensure that the technology is being advanced. Payment terms are described further in our Licensing Details segment.

Are all the technologies listed on your site available for licensing?
Yes, we only list technologies that have yet to be exclusively licensed in all available fields. The technologies listed are at different stages of development and intellectual property protection.

Who do I contact to gain more information about licensing a given technology?
Please contact a licensing professional for more information.

Main UIRF phone line:319-335-4546

Zev Sunleaf 319-335-4155Executive Director

Shannon Sheehan 319-335-4605Sr. Licensing Associate

Catherine Koh 319-335-4659Sr. Licensing Associate

Sean Kim 319-335-4607Sr. Licensing Associate

Kellen Sensor 319-335-4073Licensing Associate

  


Questions from Investors

Who do I contact to review UIRF portfolio companies?
Please contact Zev Sunleaf at 319-335-4155 to discuss UI spinout companies.

  


Questions from Entrepreneurs

Do I need to be affiliated with the University of Iowa in order to use UIRF technology?
The UIRF is interested in working with experienced entrepreneurs expressing an interest in licensing university technology for an existing or forming new venture.

Who should I contact to explore technology partnering possibilities?
Please contact a licensing or business development professional for more information.

Main UIRF phone line:319-335-4546

Zev Sunleaf 319-335-4155Executive Director

Shannon Sheehan 319-335-4605Sr. Licensing Associate

Catherine Koh 319-335-4659Sr. Licensing Associate

Sean Kim 319-335-4607Sr. Licensing Associate

Kellen Sensor 319-335-4073Licensing Associate

Paul Dymerski 319-384-3425Assoc. Dir. Asset Development

Rob Penington 319-335-4142Assit. Dir. Asset Development

6 Gilmore Hall, 112 N. Capitol Street, Iowa City, IA 52242     phone: 319-335-4546 fax: 319-335-4486 © University of Iowa 2007. All rights reserved.