The University of Windsor (UWindsor) actively supports research and collaboration. We are committed to training highly qualified personnel (HQP) who will become our next-generation scholars, leaders, creators, scientists, engineers, inventors, and entrepreneurs. In fulfillment of the Ontario Commercialization Mandate Policy Framework, the commercialization framework below outlines UWindsor’s commitment to the innovation ecosystem and to the management and protection of intellectual property (IP) created by UWindsor faculty and students.
To be able to effectively support research activities in a manner that is beneficial to all; researchers, industries, and the broader community, the commercialization of IP obtained through research should be managed diligently. This commercialization framework guides the commercialization process and aims to:
i. Encourage the development of innovative ideas and research that ultimately contribute towards the betterment of society;
ii. Foster relationships between industry and academia such that knowledge transfer between researchers, industry, and customers is effectively transferred and provides pioneering solutions to real-life challenges;
iii. Facilitate initiatives and disseminate opportunities that strengthen the economic benefits for the Province of Ontario and for Canada;
iv. Develop a climate that enables entrepreneurship through the training of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP);
v. Nurture a climate that enables the commercialization of research and innovation within the Province of Ontario; and
vi. Ensure that the university’s core values and beliefs are maintained and mitigate any potential issues (ownership, authorship, revenue sharing) so that research and commercialization may take place without impeding rights or efforts.
The University of Windsor highly values research and innovation and has a creator-owned Intellectual Property (IP) policy. Inventors and creators can determine if they wish to seek the assistance of the University of Windsor to obtain IP protection and/or further commercialization of their research. All IP developed at the University of Windsor can be used for non-commercial research and educational purposes. As per the Windsor University Faculty Association (WUFA) Collective Agreement, Articles 34, 35 and 36 outline that all faculty researchers are required to disclose any new technology and/or patent application(s) to the Office of Research and Innovation Services (ORIS) via the Technology Disclosure form.
A student-focused IP policy is currently under development by the Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation (VPRI), with a target completion in 2023. This student IP Policy will also be creator-owned and will be focused in a manner that protects student’s best interests as they develop and commercialize IP.
Office of Research & Innovation Services
The University of Windsor – Office of Research and Innovation Services (ORIS), Technology Transfer Office (TTO) supports faculty members with technology disclosures and the creation and protection of IP. The commercialization process described in this document applies only to IP where a faculty member is involved. The new student IP policy that is in progress will outline support services for student-created IP and student IP protection.
Services for Faculty Inventors:
Intellectual Property and Commercialization:
- Assist faculty members in identifying intellectual property, forms of IP protection, and commercialization of their research
- Protect and manage IP through appropriate channels
- Identify sources of funding that can support the further technology readiness level (TRL) of the invention
- Market and transfer the technology to industry receptors for commercialization
- Draft, negotiate, and sign agreements and contracts, including licensing agreements
- Assist with securing research partnerships, industry collaboration, support, and funding
- Identify opportunities for new research partnerships and other external funding to facilitate research
- Support negotiating terms of research collaboration agreements
- Foster a campus environment that encourages the advancement of research and knowledge mobilization
- Provide workshops and educational content for faculty, staff, and students regarding IP and commercialization
- Engage the regional innovation ecosystem to broadly advance IP education initiatives and resources while leveraging the resources available as follows:
- UWindsor’s on-campus business incubator EPICentre
- Windsor’s Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) WEtech Alliance
- Windsor’s Economic Development Office Invest Windsor-Essex
- Funding agencies
- Industry consortiums and associations
- Community partners
The Commercialization Process
The UWindsor commercialization process is composed of a disclosure phase, a technology evaluation phase, and a commercialization phase. Support services, which may include funding, are in place from the TTO to assist inventor(s) and creator(s) with this process. More detailed information can be found in our UWindsor Inventor’s handbook which covers these topics and more. Below is a brief outline with excerpts from the relevant sections of the handbook. UWindsor inventor(s) and creator(s) can reach out to the TTO staff if they wish to obtain more detailed information or to discuss their unique research initiatives by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Disclosure: Disclosure of IP before protection can impede inventor(s) from obtaining IP protection and may impact future commercialization efforts if it occurs without a non-disclosure agreement in place. Disclosure refers to the act of making known all or some parts of the technology verbally and/or written. This includes publications at conferences, masters, and doctoral theses, or disclosing IP on any other publicly accessible platforms. Whether protection is pursued independently or through ORIS, it is required that technologies created by Faculty inventor(s) be disclosed to ORIS. The Invention Disclosure can be completed by completing and submitting a Technology Disclosure Form. Inventors must formally advise UWindsor if they do or do not want the assistance of the TTO. If the inventor(s) elect to pursue commercialization of IP independent of UWindsor, the Inventor(s) will be responsible for all expenses incurred in commercialising the technology.
2. Evaluation: If the inventor(s) opt to pursue IP protection with the assistance of the University, the TTO will proceed with the assessment of the technology disclosure to determine if the technology is novel, non-obvious, and if there is a potential commercial opportunity. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are assessed which describe the stage of development the technology is at and are standardize levels used by many different parties who support the advancement of technologies from research labs to the marketplace. Prior art is searched to determine whether this invention can be distinguished from technologies that have already been patented or from those that exist in the public domain. Market feasibility is also assessed. Considering the expenses associated with patenting, it is essential to identify a potential market before a patent is filed. After the initial technology assessment is completed, the TTO will determine whether the invention is at the optimal stage for IP protection and commercialization. If a technology is favourably evaluated for pursuing IP protection, the inventor(s) and the University of Windsor may enter into a Technology Ownership and Commercialization Agreement in which the inventor(s) assign ownership of their intellectual property to the University of Windsor and the University solely assumes the financial responsibilities associated with IP protection. The agreement will outline terms and conditions for the sharing of revenue generated from IP ensuring that all parties are committed to the commercialization of the technology.
3. Commercialization: Once the Technology Ownership and Commercialization Agreement has been executed, provisional patent applications, and in some cases full patent applications, are filed. Commercialization options are then determined and pursued for the technology. The TTO and ORIS will work with the inventor in formulating strategies to develop the technology from current TRL higher stages and how it can become market ready. This may involve applying for funding through the NSERC Idea to Innovation program. The TTO may work with the inventor(s) to further develop a business plan and identify the appropriate on-going IP protection and commercialization strategies for the invention as each technology and its IP are unique. As such, it is important to consider different pathways to commercialization of IP. These pathways can either be entrepreneurial in nature or may involve licensing out the technology to a third party who has the ability to commercialize the technology. Marketing efforts are pursued in support of the technology’s commercialization plan. ORIS has numerous sources and approaches that work to identify potential licensees. a licensing agreement must be negotiated by the two entities. This contract specifies the rights or permissions granted to the licensee to use and exploit the intellectual property developed at the University of Windsor. It also stipulates revenue payments which will be distributed between the inventor(s) and the University in accordance with their signed agreement. The TTO and inventor(s) keep in regular contact about the progress on their files through the above processes. The technology transfer process is executed most effectively and successfully when the inventor(s) and ORIS/TTO work together as a team to market and license the technology.
Benefit to Ontario
UWindsor is actively engaged in research collaborations locally, provincially, nationally, and globally. Through these activities, we are advancing our understanding of the world around us, maximizing benefits to society, and enhancing quality of life today and tomorrow. These collaborations allow the private sector and the University of Windsor to invest their resources and expertise towards the support and conception of projects focused on the advancement and prosperity of the province through producing HQP knowledgeable in intellectual property, commercialization and knowledge mobilization bringing forth a new generation of entrepreneurs and creating employment opportunities in Ontario.