Office of Technology Transfer
Ideas Reaching the World

Commercialize Your Technology

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Roadmap to Commercializing Your Technology


Technology commercialization is the meeting point of your research, business and intellectual property law.  In order to determine the appropriate course of action, we are here to work alongside you throughout the entire process.


STEP 1: Innovation

Lehigh University research generates innovations with societal impact.  Any university research has the potential to create an invention that is cammercially valuable.  It is important to document your research and outcomes that led to the discovery to help support and Invention Disclosure and potential intellectual property (IP) protection.

STEP 2: Intellectual Property Disclosure

As a researcher, you should submit an invention disclosure to the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) for any intellectual property for potential IP Protection.  IP Protection should be sought when you believe you may have developed an innovation wih the possibility for commercialization.  Your invention disclosure should be submitted before you publish your data, present it at a conference, or share your ideas with outside parties.

STEP 3: Intellectual Property Assessment

The staff will review you invention disclosure and make a recommendation for intellectual property protection.  Your invention disclosure is examined for its commercialization potential to determine which innovations the university should fund with its limited time, money and other resources.

STEP 4: IP Protection Filing

The office oversees the IP Protection process.  Applications for patents may be submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) an/or other foreign patent offices with the assistance of outside legal counsel.  Copyrights may be registered with the US Copyright Office.  Patents and copyrights provide protected exclusivity for the intellectual property for a limited term.

STEP 5: Commercialization Assessment

What is the best way to the market?  The OTT offers educational programs, funding and mentoring.  Our office and the Lehigh Ventures Lab can assist in identifying the most effective route to market, whether it be via a start-up or through licensing to an established company.

STEP 6: Start a Company or Find a Partner

Start a Company:
Platform technologies and innovations with broad applications may be suited for the creation of a startup.  Leadership, competition, and certain barriers to market entry may also influence the decision.  The Office of Technology Transfer and the Lehigh Ventures Lab evaluate potential startups and locates resources to help them launch. 

Find a Partner:
An industry partner is often the most effective way to get an idea or innovation commercialized. They have the late-stage development and commercialization expertise to advance the innocation and move it to market. A licensing partnership with an existing company is often the best course of action for an innovation that enhances the existing product or solution that fills a gap in an existing company's technology development. Such partnerships may include sponsored research with the inventor to further the technology's development. Our office can help you find and choose potential partners as well as establish a strong partnership relationship.

STEP 7: Negotiate a License

The licensing manager negotiates the terms of the license agreement, which requires the licensee to bring the technology to the marketplace.  If the licensee is an established company or a startup, the process of licensing the technology still proceeds.  The director of the Office of Technology Transfer will facilitate the process between the university, licensee and inventor(s) (in certain situations the licensee and inventor(s) will be the same person).  The director of the OTT will share the contractual terms and conditions with the licensee and oversee the negotiations until an agreemenr is met. 

STEP 8: Follow-up and Support

The OTT is in charge of managing the license agreement, and in the event of a start-up, we can provide some guidance and support in order for the start-up to suceed.  The licensee can continue to use the inventor(s) and the office as resources.  Our office also facilitates the oversight and management of the agreement to ensure that all agreed upon milestones are met.  There are also ways to help manage the partnership with the licensee if there is sponsored research or an industrial partner of the university.  You may submit an invention disclosure via email to