Office of Research New Faculty Orientation will take place on Friday, September 6, 2024 from 8:00am to 11:00am in Diboll Gallery and Auditorium, 1440 Canal Street, Tidewater Bldg. Click here for the New Faculty Orientation website.

Invention Disclosure Process

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Invention disclosure is a critical step in protecting your intellectual property and in ensuring that Tulane University abides by the terms of the federal Bayh-Dole Act. Under Bayh-Dole, researchers are required to disclose all inventions made under federal funding any time such inventions are developed, 90 days before any use of the invention as described below.

If the federal government discovers that a researcher or Tulane University has not fulfilled the disclosure requirement, or any other obligation, the federal government has unlimited time to assert ownership of the invention. This means that ownership of the invention would transfer from Tulane University to the government and neither the inventor nor Tulane will have any rights or receive any revenues related to that invention. It is Tulane University's goal to avoid that situation and protect Tulane's inventors.

Invention disclosures can be filed easily and quickly using Sophia, a secure online portal. Simply log on to Sophia with your Tulane credentials.

Access Sophia Now

Steps in the invention disclosure process are outlined below. You can refer to our Invention Disclosure Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information.


Steps in the Invention Disclosure Process

1.     What if I'm not sure I need to file an invention disclosure?

If you're not sure whether your discovery should be disclosed or not, lease submit an Inventor Pre-Disclosure Contact Request and a member of the Licensing Team will contact you to discuss.

Inventor Pre-Disclosure Contact Request

2.     Submit an Invention Disclosure

Tulane Researchers disclose their inventions using Sophia, a secure online portal that is accessed using your Tulane credentials. An invention disclosure typically takes about 15 minutes to complete in Sophia.

The basic information needed includes:

  • a list of inventors and their emails
  • funding source(s)
  • abstract/description of the invention's novel features
  • and, preferably, a manuscript draft.

There is a guide you can download (PDF) that walks you through each step of the disclosure process in Sophia.

3.     Assignment to Licensing Team Member

Once your invention disclosure is entered in Sophia, it is assigned to the OIPM licensing team member who works with your department. The licensing team member will contact you within 3 business days to set up a time to meet.

4.     Meet to Review Disclosure

At a virtual or in-person meeting, your OIPM licensing team member will gather additional information, learn more about your invention, and work with you on determining a potential patent filing and, ultimately, commercialization of your invention.

5.    Decision on Intellectual Property Protection

The Office of Intellectual Property Management licensing team reviews the disclosure to determine whether to file a patent application on the invention. The review includes researching the market, identifying competitive technologies, and determining whether prior art exists. Within 30 days of the invention disclosure filing in Sophia a decision will be made and communicated to the researcher. The options include:

  1. Pursue IP protection using outside legal counsel
  2. Not file for IP protection but actively market invention
  3. Wait until more data is available, then decide whether to pursue IP protection
  4. Waive rights to the IP and assign it to the inventor(s) OR the federal government if the research was federally funded

6.     Licensing Process Begins

See the End-to-End Commercialization Process page for more information.

7.     Frequently Asked Questions

See the Invention Disclosure Frequently Asked Questions page.