The OSU Advantage IP & Licensing and Industry Research Agreements teams help faculty achieve societal impact with their research. We provide access to expertise and talent in commercialization, industry contracting, and startup support for faculty, staff, and students of OSU.  

Frequently Asked Questions

You can connect with OSU Advantage by reaching out to any OSU Advantage team member. We’ll happily connect you with the right team member and get you started down the right path. To start a conversation about or report an invention, you can connect with our intellectual property and licensing specialists through our "I Have an Idea" site. For questions about working with industry, reach out to our industry contracting specialists. If you are interested in starting your own company, connect with the Advantage Accelerator.

Faculty, researchers, and OSU employees should contact OSU Advantage whenever they have a question about:

  • Intellectual property, including inventions, patents, computer code, plant varieties, and copyrights
  • Starting a company based on OSU intellectual property
  • Research or licensing agreements with commercial partners
  • Exchanging materials, such as biological materials, with other institutions, companies, or individuals

The best time to connect with OSU Advantage is prior to any public disclosure of an invention or other form of intellectual property. A public disclosure is any non-confidential sharing of an idea or invention – including printed and online publications, abstracts, posters, conference presentations, oral defense (thesis or dissertation), or any other public sharing. It is also best to contact OSU Advantage before initiating any licensing discussions or distributing material embodiments (i.e. plasmids, computer code, new plant varieties) of OSU intellectual property. If publication or other sharing has already occurred, we encourage you to contact OSU Advantage as soon as possible, so that we can work with you to determine whether we can still secure intellectual property rights.

Ownership of intellectual property created at OSU is set forth in OSU’s policy on intellectual property (University Policy 06-200). Except for academic works, OSU owns the intellectual property made by employees at OSU. Generally, OSU also owns material embodiments of inventions, such as biological materials and prototypes. Academic works, including scholarly and aesthetic works, are covered by copyrights that are generally retained by the OSU faculty who create them.

In most cases, non-employee students own the intellectual property they make at OSU. However, students may be required to assign to OSU intellectual property made with substantial use of OSU resources or as part of research projects with contractual obligations related to intellectual property. Subject to OSU’s acceptance, students may choose to assign to OSU intellectual property developed at OSU, even if such assignment is not required. When a student assigns intellectual property to OSU, they are treated in a similar manner to OSU employees.

Intellectual property refers to rights associated with intellectual creations, such as inventions, literary works, computer code, designs, names, images, and artistic works. For example, a patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the patented invention. Patents, plant variety protections, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets are commonly recognized types of intellectual property.

Oregon State University has a generous revenue sharing practice. Details on how OSU shares revenue derived from the licensing of OSU intellectual property with inventors or developers is set forth in OSU’s policy on intellectual property (University Policy 06-200).

The most important thing you can do to help OSU protect and secure intellectual property rights is to contact the OSU Advantage team before any public sharing of the details of your invention or creation. We’ll work with you to create a plan to evaluate and protect your invention or creation.

Publications and seamless collaborations are essential for faculty successes and a means for dissemination of innovation, promotion, and acknowledgment of the important research at OSU. OSU Advantage works within the publication timeframes of our faculty to facilitate the publication process while also securing intellectual property rights as needed.

Even when research results are already published, there still may be time to protect and license your work, so we encourage you to contact us.

An "inventor" is defined by law generally as one who first conceives and reduces to practice any patentable subject matter. To be an inventor,  a person must have contributed to the conception of the invention. Co-authors of research may, or may not, be considered (by law) to be Co-inventors. It is very important to correctly identify the inventors of an invention; issued patents can be invalidated on this basis. For the purposes of the Invention Disclosure form, list all of those who significantly contributed to the conception of the invention. OSU Advantage will make distributions to significant contributors even if they are not included on the final patent application as an inventor, if all inventors are in agreement.

Depending on the complexity of the invention, the paths chosen in a patent application, and the specific examiner assigned to review the invention in the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it will generally take between 3-5 years for a patent to issue.

The time commitment necessary from the inventors varies, but it is important for the inventors and the patent attorney/agent to connect frequently during the initial filing, making sure the language captures the invention adequately; a few years later interaction is necessary once the USPTO examines the patent application to respond to questions and provided differentiation over examiner-noted publications and patents.

OSU Advantage covers all of the costs associated with patenting and licensing an invention. If there is an inventor from another institution or company, the expenses are usually shared with those other entities. When an invention is licensed, we normally require the licensee to reimburse OSU for past or future patent costs.

OSU Advantage sometimes decides not to move forward on protecting an invention, if a determination is made that an invention has limited patentability or markets, or if the best path to transfer the invention is determined to be through publication.