IdeaGate: Submit Your Disclosures On-line

Technology Transfer Offices receive invention disclosure forms for new innovations daily. These forms are the way that Emory personnel let the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) know about their innovative ideas, so that OTT can explore the commercial potential of their idea or invention. Emory’s OTT continuously has an influx of these, as the faculty and researchers on campus are always creating new innovations. Faculty submitted over 250 invention disclosures last year. Once OTT receives the forms, they research whether the idea is protectable, if the idea has already been protected, what the market around the idea looks like, or if a comparable product already exists.

To do all this research, the office first needs to actually acquire the disclosure forms. In the past, faculty, staff, and researchers had to complete the appropriate form for their technology in either PDF or Word form, collect signatures manually on a printed copy or electronically for every contributor, and finally email it back to the office to be processed.

While this tried and true system has worked well, OTT is rolling out an efficient and convenient alternative for submitting disclosure forms called “IdeaGate.” The platform is essentially an online version of the old forms (try it here: http://bit.ly/Emory_IdeaGate). The system requires a valid Emory netid. The system has undergone several months of beta testing and is now publicly available according to Patrick Reynolds, Assistant Director of Faculty and Start-up Services. Reynolds explained that one simple but handy improvement that IdeaGate provides is the ease of obtaining contributor signatures. When a form is submitted through the platform, the names and emails of all contributors must be included. This is so the platform can send each Emory contributor an email requesting their electronic signature, and the platform will even send them occasional reminders should they forget to sign. Previously, Reynolds says that collecting signatures from all of the contributors on a project was one of the most difficult and time-consuming parts of the disclosure submission process. An additional benefit for faculty is that they will be able to go back into the system after a disclosure is submitted and see some basic status and patent information related to that disclosure.

In addition to the convenience that IdeaGate will provide to the contributors, it is also convenient for OTT. IdeaGate is automatically linked to Inteum, the database that OTT uses. Reynolds appreciates that with the portal, once someone works on a draft, he can see their timeline: when they started the form, how many contributors they have, and what the idea is about. Previously the only timeline would be the end: the submittal of the form. But now Reynolds can check in with the researchers who have started forms but not turned them in after an extended period.

This new platform helps faculty and members of OTT get “great ideas to the office so they can start looking at their potential”, in the words of Reynolds. It appears to be a more efficient and convenient method of submitting invention disclosure forms—for everyone involved.