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Innovation to Market

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Technology Transfer and Commercialization

Technology transfer is an important part of the research process. Technology transfer may take the form of commercializing a product you have developed, licensing new manufacturing techniques or software for use in industry, or developing research partnerships that allow further study into your specific areas of research.

The OVPRI assists researchers by providing the following services:

  • Evaluation of the technology
  • Studies to determine market potential
  • Assistance with applications for patents and other forms of Intellectual Property (IP) protection
  • Marketing inventions
  • Negotiating licensing agreements

In addition, we can also help you obtain funding for proof-of-concept studies that may be needed to make your technology more appealing to the market, or to find industrial research partners who share an interest in your technology.

Services are free to members of the Ryerson community whose invention arose out of University research. If Ryerson decides that your technology is one that we would like to be involved in marketing, we will even cover the cost of protecting and marketing it. All we ask in return is to share in the benefits down the road if the technology is successful. You always have the option of pursuing commercialization on your own, in which case you are responsible for any fees that are incurred. Please note that even if you decide to do this, Ryerson policy still requires that you file an invention disclosure with the OVPRI. To file, please use the word fileinvention disclosure form, opens in new window.

For more information regarding Technology Transfer or IP-related issues, please contact Suraj Shah, Research Contracts Officer at

Intellectual Property

There are five main categories of Intellectual Property (IP) protection available to researchers: patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, and integrated circuit topographies. The following information describes what type(s) of IP can be protected by each category:

Patents give the researcher the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling their invention. Things that may be eligible for a patent include processes (e.g., a new or improved manufacturing process), methods, machines (e.g., a new mousetrap or a new power generator for an electric car), manufactures, compositions, and improvements developed by the researcher. Computer software can be eligible for patents as well.

Things that are NOT eligible for patent protection include ideas, theories, and principles that have not been reduced to practice.

The three requirements for a patent are that your invention must be:

  1. useful
  2. new
  3. unobvious to someone who is skilled in the field of the invention

View more information regarding patents, external link, opens in new window

Copyrights prevent others from copying or modifying a work that you have created. Things that can be protected include literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works, as well as sound recordings and computer programs. While registration of the copyright is not required, it can be helpful if you ever need to deal with someone whom you feel is infringing on your copyright.

View more information regarding copyrights, external link, opens in new window.

Trademarks prevent others from using specific words, symbols and/or designs that are used to distinguish goods and services. Examples of well-known trademarks include Just Do It (registered trademark of Nike, Inc.), an apple with a bite removed (registered trademark of Apple Inc.), and IBM (stylized letters). Trademarks need to be registered unless they are only used regionally.

View more information regarding trademarks, external link, opens in new window.

Industrial designs protect features of shape, pattern and/or ornamentation. Examples include the distinctive shape of a Coca-Cola bottle, the shape of a table, or the ornamentation on the handle of a spoon. Industrial designs must be registered in order to be protected.

View more information regarding industrial designs, external link, opens in new window.

Integrated circuit (IC) topographies protect the surface configuration of the electronic circuits used in microchips and semiconductor chips. Your design must be unique in order to register. IC topographies do not protect the function of the chip, the methods of using the chip, or the structural features of the chip.

View more information regarding integrated circuit topographies, external link, opens in new window.

For more information about any of these forms of IP protection, please visit the Canadian Intellectual Property Office site, external link, opens in new window.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Invention and Software Disclosures should be filed as soon as the invention or work can be clearly described in writing, has been reduced to practice, or if you want to publish something that may be considered initial work on your invention/software. You must file a disclosure prior to selling, licensing, or otherwise assigning your invention. This should be completed early in the process so that the OVPRI can protect your IP prior to public disclosure.