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London's universities say ‘OpenSME’ to new support for capital's small businesses

A group of London's universities are launching a new collaboration – OpenSME – that seeks to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access the expertise and knowledge they offer.

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Invention Disclosure Form

What is the purpose of an Invention Disclosure Form?

An Invention Disclosure Form (IDF) is designed to determine the basic facts relating to an invention, design or copyright material. It is a way of capturing an invention and establishing who the inventors are, what the invention is, who is funding it, what the anticipated product/ market is and the initiate Intellectual Property (IP) due diligence. 

The IDF serves an additional purpose of establishing an independent reference point in support of laboratory notebooks as to when an invention was made.

The Process

Step 1 – Contact UCLB
  • Contact UCLB, we will assign a Business Manager (BM) to the project,
  • If you think you have a commercially valuable idea, please contact us before publication to avoid preclusion of patenting,
  • An Invention Disclosure Form (IDF) will be sent out for you to complete (in confidence) which will include:

    • an outline of the idea / invention,
    • any disclosures made, such as papers published, posters or presentations given,
    • details of funding sources,
    • identification of what a commercial product may be,
    • if possible, the commercial direction of the invention and market size, such as potential licensees or companies that may be interested in the invention.

Step 2 – Send back your completed IDF to UCLB
  • Send back your completed IDF
  • Your BM will meet with you to discuss your invention in detail.
  • Once you have had this meeting with your BM they will present your IDF to all BM’s in a meeting and its viability will be discussed.
  • The viability of an invention is not purely based on scientific merit. The BM’s will also consider commercial issues such as market size, competing technologies etc, as well as the strength of intellectual property protection available, such as patentability, enforceability and freedom to operate.
  • An idea that is scientifically interesting may not be commercially feasible, but all reasonable avenues and routes to market will be explored so that the university and the general public will receive maximum benefit.

Step 3 – UCLB takes on your project
  • Approval at this stage will lead to the project being taken on by UCLB.
  • From this stage the BM will lead the commercialisation and work closely with you to support the onward development of the invention including: 
  1. Securing IP protection (working with external patent attorneys as appropriate).
  2. Support applications to the UCLB Proof of Concept Fund (PoC) and Translational grant funding to develop the invention as appropriate.
  3. Identifying potential partners, companies and investors to bring the invention to market.

Here to Help

Our BM’s are always on hand to help you with any questions you have regarding IDF’s. If you have any question please call UCLB on 0207 679 9000 and state the department you are in, this will determine which BM you speak to