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Contact David Wilhite, Director of Technology Commercialization, for more information about sharing your research discovery with the world. 

Technology Commercialization

Legal Protection

IURTC works hard to ensure that discoveries are credited to the appropriate IU faculty and researchers as well as any collaborators at other institutions. We regularly work with other universities to negotiate the necessary agreements over ownership, responsibility for patent costs and commercialization efforts, and revenue sharing.


Securing a patent from the U.S. Patent Office ensures that you will be able to prevent others from making, using, or selling your intellectual property without your permission. However, not every discovery—even those that can be successfully commercialized—requires a patent.

There are complex legal requirements that determine whether an invention is patentable that should be addressed by an experienced patent attorney. Patents can be awarded to a material, a process or method, a new use of an existing material, or an improvement to any of these—so long as it can be demonstrated to be useful, not previously known, and not obvious to other professionals in the field.

An IURTC technology manager will work with you to make a determination of the patentability of your discovery and help obtain the necessary legal support to manage the application process.

You can also research patents issued by the U.S. Patent Office for free through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website.


While patents protect ideas, copyrights protect the expression of those ideas—and more often apply to works of art, books, software, and other things that may be easily reproduced. Often, copyrights are registered when a commercial product is ready for manufacture. If you are interested in copyrighting your discovery, complete an Invention Disclosure Form and submit it to your IURTC technology manager.

Next: Marketing Your Discovery »