After you have invented something or created a new technology, submit a disclosure (links to disclosure forms below) to Texas A&M Technology Commercialization (TTC). TTC manages the intake of disclosures for all of the A&M System member institutions and agencies, not just those comprising Texas A&M AgriLife. Based on the information you provide, the TTC will assign the disclsoure to the correct member commercialization office. In almost all cases, those disclosures from Texas A&M AgriLife agency researchers and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty and staff will be assigned to AgriLife Research’s Intellectual Property and Commercialization office (IPaC).
It is important that you not only identify your affiliation with Texas A&M AgriLife, whether it is your department, center, or agency but also provide all of the information requested in the grant section of the disclosure form. The source of funding is important in determining which office the disclosure is assigned to, and we want to make sure that your disclosures reach us in a timely manner.
Types of Disclosures
Note that we have many types of disclosure forms. These are differentiated based on the type of technology or invention you are disclosing. This list briefly describes these different forms and their appropriate uses, and the disclosure forms may be downloaded from the links below:
- Disclosure of Invention – most inventions that are patent subject matter (a novel device, instrument, method or process, or composition of matter)
- Software Disclosure – computer programs or software
- Plant Variety/Germplasm Disclosure – new plant varieties, germplasm, inbred lines, hybrids, etc. including, but not limited to those that may be PVP or plant patent subject matter
- Research Material Disclosure – materials, compounds, or any other proprietary materials you may create in your research that while not ready, or appropriate, for disclosing as an invention, a company is interested in evaluating the technology to determine its potential interest in the material. Please contact us to request a copy of a Research Material Disclosure form.
The Disclosure of Invention, Software Disclosure, and Plant Variety/Germplasm Disclosure forms include one data sheet for each inventor. If there are multiple inventors for the invention you are disclosing (including external inventors), you need to complete and submit a data sheet for each inventor. Copies of these data sheets may be downloaded from the links below:
- Disclosure of Invention – Inventor Data Sheet
- Software Disclosure – Author Data Sheet
- Plant Variety/Germplasm Disclosure – Breeder/Contributor Data Sheet
Obligations Under Sponsored Research
Please also be aware of any obligations regarding disclosures created under sponsored research. You may have obligations to report inventions in your reports to the sponsor. After we receive the disclosure, we will also formally notify the sponsor per the terms of the sponsored research agreement.
First Time Disclosing?
Don’t worry if this is your first time disclosing or if all of this sounds daunting. We are here to help. While we can’t complete the disclosure forms for you, we are here to answer any questions you may have about the forms and the disclosure process.
Publish or Patent?
We sometimes hear, “I have to publish, so we can’t patent” This is not a problem. Part of the confusion about “publish vs. patent” comes from the fact that publication may limit the scope of patent rights available. As a research organization, we realize the value of publication to our researchers and our mission. Publication and patenting (or other forms of IP protection where appropriate) are not inconsistent with each other. IPaC cannot, and will not tell you not to publish. We may ask if you can hold off on publication for a period of time while we evaluate the IP protection opportunities.
Please also note that while we cannot tell you not to publish, you need to be sure to comply with any publication restrictions that may exist in the terms of any:
- sponsored research agreements under which the IP was created,
- material transfer agreements for materials you received that were used to develop the IP, or
- other agreements that have reference to publication rights and that are related to the IP you have disclosed.
After You Submit a Disclosure Form
Part of the disclosure intake process is to check to verify that the disclosure is complete. TTC staff perform this review. They are not reviewing the content per se. Rather, they are reviewing for completeness. They are looking for responses to every question asked on the form, particularly (but not exclusively) as it relates to inventor names, titles, positions, affiliation, and contact information. Another key question this staff review looks for is information about the source of funding used in the creation of what you are disclosing. If any of this information is missing or incomplete TTC staff will contact you for the additional information and your disclosure will not be accepted as a complete disclosure until you provide that additional information.
Outside (non-A&M System) Inventors
It is possible that there are non-A&M System inventors, such as if you have jointly created a new invention with a colleague at another institution that is not an A&M System member. We still need them identified as a creator on the disclosure form and we need a data sheet for them. It is optional for the non-A&M System inventors to sign the signature page of the disclosure form, but they are not to sign the inventor distribution agreement on the last page of the form. We do not distribute royalty revenue to non-A&M System employees, however we do contact their institution and provide them a copy of the completed disclosure form.