Alfred University is in the position of seeking to extend knowledge on one hand and on the other to patent information where financial aspects dictate that as an appropriate course. The University will seek to patent only those inventions which represent major compositional or process breakthroughs.
Compliance with the procedures below is essential if the inventor and the University are to obtain maximum benefit from patent-able inventions. Patents are valuable to a university and its staff members. Along with publication in scientific journals, they establish dates of scientific contributions. They can and do serve to control the quality of products manufactured by licensees. They may be a substantial source of income.
The professional staff of Alfred University is required, as a condition of employment, to submit to the University disclosures of inventions which may be patent-able and which were conceived and/or developed during employment by Alfred University. However, patent-able ideas or inventions which the inventor can demonstrate were conceived and developed independently from Alfred University will be exempt from this rule. A member of the staff must recognize both the legal and ethical obligation which he/she has to his/her employer and should be encouraged to seek a patent within two months when he/she believes that an invention may be patent-able.
All matters involving patents will be referred to the University Patent Committee. The Patent Committee is chaired by the Dean of the College of the inventor. Three members of the professional staff will be appointed by the Chairperson to consider a particular disclosure. The appointed members will be knowledgeable in the specific area of the patent disclosure. This committee will act within two months of receipt of the disclosure. The Committee may consult with other members of the faculty. It is understood that no person or agency (Patent Committee, Research Corp., etc.) shall take steps in the evaluation of a patent disclosure that might imperil the patent-ability of the idea. The actions that may be taken by the Committee are detailed below.
When a staff member believes that he/she has conceived a patent-able invention and/or has conceived a patent-able invention and/or reduced to practice a patent-able invention he/she will prepare a disclosure of the discovery for transmittal to the Dean of his/her College. The Dean will then convene a meeting of the Patent Committee. This Committee will then make one of two decisions:
- Request the Provost and Chief Operating Officer authorize expenditure of funds to search the patent literature
- Return the rights to the invention/idea to the inventor
If the literature search is carried out the committee will be reconvened with the inventor present to further evaluate the invention. The Committee will then recommend to the Provost and Chief Operating Officer one of the following options:
- That the idea or invention be transmitted to the patent attorney for the pursuit of a patent at University expense
- That the idea or invention be transmitted to the Research Corporation under the provisions of the agreement between Alfred University and the Corporation
- That the idea or invention be forwarded to the sponsoring agency as may be required under the terms of the agreement governing the research
- That the rights to the idea or invention be returned to the person or persons from whom it was received. In this case the idea or invention becomes the property of the inventor(s).
- That the investigator(s) continue study to document usefulness