Inventor FAQs

What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property is a broad term that includes all creative works. Inventions and other works and/or ideas as expressed in a form that can be shared qualify as IP, and these can be protected from unauthorized use as patents, copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets.

What is Commercialization?
Commercialization of intellectual property involves the transfer of intellectual property from the University to the marketplace through licensing to and/or partnering with existing or newly created companies. This aids in the further development of MTSU technologies and benefits society by generating new and better products that will ultimately improve the quality of life.

I've got an idea - now what?
First check the criteria for patentable ideas and copyrightable works. If appropriate for patent or copyright, the idea must be disclosed to the University within 60 days of discovery. Do NOT report the invention in the literature or at a conference before disclosure or you may risk losing patent rights. The process for disclosure of intellectual property (IP) at MTSU is summarized in the diagram below and follows MTSU IP Policy. A faculty, student, or staff member who makes an invention or discovery should discuss it with a representative from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to get preliminary answers to questions. A student should first discuss the Invention or Work with his/her instructor, who will provide assistance in initiating further discussion within the University. Make sure that the dates of critical discoveries and data concerning the invention are well documented! If the invention is developed enough to write up, the next step is to complete an invention disclosure form or copyright disclosure form. Submit an electronic copy to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs via or (Ingram Building, Garden Level, x5005). It will be added to the agenda for consideration at the next Intellectual Property Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting. The committee meets monthly, or at least once per semester, as needed. If your idea is only in the first stages of development, the IPAC can provide guidance and support (or reference to an appropriate mentor).

Process for Disclosure of Intellectual Property (IP)