These guidelines define the procedures to be used by the Advisory Committee on Patents and Copyrights in implementing Tennessee Technological University's Policy dated March 11, 1998. A graphical representation of the patent filing process may be found here .


The University has established an Advisory Committee on Patents and Copyrights for the purpose of advising the President on all matters involving patents and copyrights. Membership shall be composed of faculty and staff experienced in research, innovation and the production of copyrightable materials. A majority of the membership shall be from the faculty.

  1. Meetings
    The Committee shall meet as often as necessary to transact its business, but no less than once per semester.
  2. Documents
    The Committee shall develop the documents necessary for the pursuit of the patent, trademark and copyright process. The completed documents shall be submitted to the President or designee for approval.
  3. Disclosures
    The Committee, through its Chairperson, shall receive disclosures of inventions and copyrights from persons who are subject to Section 3.0 of the policy. The content of the disclosure document will be evaluated as to clarity, completeness and its applicability to Section 3.0 of the policy.
  4. Rights
    On receipt and acceptance of a disclosure document, the Committee will identify the source of support; that is, external funding, University funding and/or use of University facilities. The Committee Chairperson will request the inventor or person disclosing copyrightable materials to execute the Assignment of Rights document assigning all rights to the University and to the Tennessee Board of Regents in accordance with Section 7.0 of the policy.
    1. Significant Use
      • Computers
      • Faculty Research Fund
      • Library Loan Service
    2. Copyrights
      The individual(s) developing copyrightable materials shall receive not less than 50 percent of the net income.
    3. Patents
      The individual(s) disclosing the invention shall receive not less than 50 percent of the net income.
  5. Assessment
    Internal Review

    The Committee will conduct an internal evaluation of the idea contained in the patent/copyright disclosure to determine if it appears valid and clearly presented. In this evaluation, assistance from committee members as well as from faculty and staff of the University may be sought.
    • If the preliminary evaluation is positive, a determination will be made whether waivers or releases are needed to satisfy the requirements of the party or agency funding the project.
    • If the preliminary evaluation is negative, the disclosure will be returned to the submitting person with an explanation of the rejection. The disclosure may be reconsidered with new information or clarification of the original information. If it is resubmitted, then the Committee will proceed as if it were an original submittal
    • External Review
      If the internal preliminary evaluation is positive and the appropriate waivers regarding the support source have been acquired, the disclosures may be sent to an organization or a patent attorney for the second level of evaluation. This level of evaluation is a cursory review by professionals in the appropriate area of the art to determine if the idea is possibly patentable.
  6. Recommendations
    After the Committee has completed its investigation, a report containing recommendations will be sent to the President or designee recommending
    • to pursue patent/copyright proceedings or
    • to return the disclosure to the inventor and waive all claims.
  7. Actions

    The President will indicate in a reasonable time whether or not the recommendations from the Committee are acceptable (or to be modified) and will give directions to the Committee for actions, if any, to be taken.
    • Committee
      If a patent/copyright application is to be initiated by the University, the Assignment of Rights document will be sent by the Chairperson to the President or designee for signature and approval of the royalty-sharing fee. If approved, the Chairperson will distribute copies to the inventor and other appropriate parties.
  8. Patent Application
    Within three (3) months after receiving the President's approval, the University will proceed with the application by either
    • contracting with a patent attorney or
    • entering into an agreement with an evaluation and/or marketing individual or organization.
    • If the University chooses neither to file an application nor dedicate to the public an invention in which it holds property rights, the University will waive all rights and return materials to the inventor on request.
  9. Patent Marketing
    Within six (6) months after the date of issuance of the letters of patent, the University must demonstrate a commitment toward the commercial development of the invention. If a patent is to be licensed, the license agreement must be approved by both the inventor and the University. In the event that the University decides not to seek commercial development of the invention, the inventor may request a return of all rights.
  10. Copyright Application
    The Committee will proceed with the application either with internal or external assistance. The author has the right to choose the publisher.
  11. Financial
    Before entering into an agreement for patent or copyright application, the Committee will determine the availability of funds to pursue the application. If funds are not available, the Committee will return the disclosure and assignments document to the inventor.


Patents and Copyrights Committee 11/20/97
TTU Administrative Council 1/21/98
Tennessee Board of Regents 3/11 /98