Report an Invention

University of Minnesota policy requires researchers to report inventions that may have commercial or public value. While not all invention disclosures lead to patented technology, many do. The University currently holds more than 1,100 active patents on a wide range of UMN technologies. 

Reporting a technology does not prevent you from publishing or talking about your research results, but you must report your technology first. Reporting a technology before public disclosure allows us to consider international rights for your technology. Contact us at least three months in advance of a presentation or publication if possible to allow time for us to evaluate your invention and begin the patent process.

Many invention disclosures require time, research, and legal work to be fully protected. Others simply require a license agreement to be drafted for already-waiting licensees.

What Types of Inventions to Report

Report several kinds of intellectual property and inventions:

  • Devices such as a new type of biomedical device, mechanical or electrical apparatus
  • Processes such as an improved method of purifying cells or a new software technique
  • Compositions such as a new chemical or drug compound
  • Copyrightable works such as surveys, software or educational tools
  • Software, which can be copyrighted and sometimes patented
  • Biological materials such as cell lines, plant varieties, or mouse models

When to Report Your Invention

Never underestimate the value and potential of your research. Contact one of our technology sector teams to discuss your ideas and protect your invention if:

  • Your research has resulted in a new discovery
  • You plan to publish or present your discovery
  • Your federally funded or industry-sponsored research may have resulted in intellectual property
  • You want to send research tools or materials to another institution
  • A company has contacted you and wants to learn more about your research
  • You want to start a company based on your technology

Avoid Discussing Your Invention

Before disclosing your invention, avoid sharing information about it in:

    • Abstracts
    • Blogs
    • Email messages
    • Grant proposals
    • Journal articles
    • Meetings
    • Posters
    • Seminars
    • Theses
    • Website content

    How to Report an Invention

    To report an invention or other intellectual property, complete the Intellectual Property Disclosure Form either using our or download the IP Disclosure Form as a Word document to be emailed to We will contact you to begin the technology evaluation process. 

    Experiencing problems or have questions? Send an email to or contact one of our technology sector teams.