Every year at the University of Utah Technology Licensing Office we receive hundreds of invention disclosures from U faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students. Our job is to both protect and develop those ideas so they can impact people across the world. One of the ways we protect these ideas is through patents.

Applying for patents is a long and often expensive process, so each disclosure is evaluated by TLO team members and external subject matter experts to determine if a disclosed invention is 1) patentable and 2) marketable.

FAQ Infographic patentAccording to the United State Patent and Trademark Office, a patentable invention (a process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter, etc) must be:

  • Novel.
  • Nonobvious.
  • Adequately described or enabled (for one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention).
  • Claimed by the inventor in clear and definite terms.

We work with outside patent law firms to perform patentability analyses through prior art searches to determine whether an idea is novel (new in the relevant technological field) and nonobvious (a person skilled in the field wouldn’t find the idea obvious). These law firms advise TLO on the likelihood patent offices around the world would grant a patent and how a technology would be protected by a patent. 

In addition to the patentability analyses, each technology is assessed for its potential impact on society, its value over existing technologies and its ability to be licensed outside of the U by key industry players or a startup.

If the assessments determine the technology is patentable and marketable, the U will pursue a patent based on the recommendations of TLO and the external subject matter experts.

View the U’s official policy on patents

Do you have more questions? Contact TLO’s Intellectual Property team.

Director, Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property Manager
Intellectual Property Manager


We support you and your innovation.

Regardless of what you are looking for, or what stage you are in the innovation journey, the Technology Licensing Office is your go-to source to connect you with the U’s innovation ecosystem.

Call 801.581.7792 or send us a message