What is IP?
Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual property, and some countries recognize more forms of intellectual property than others. There are three main types of intellectual property used when evaluating and considering protection for Texas A&M University innovations.
A patent is the right to exclude others from offering to sell, selling, making, having made and importing a patented product, process, or composition of matter in the country in which the patent has been issued. (It is important to note that in the United States, you have one year from the date of public disclosure of your invention to file a patent application directed to the invention. In most other countries, publishing the invention prior to filing a patent application directed to the invention is a bar to obtaining a patent.)
Copyright (or author’s right) is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, and technical drawings.
A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. A word or a combination of words, letters, and numerals can perfectly constitute a trademark. But trademarks may also consist of drawings, symbols, three-dimensional features such as the shape and packaging of goods, non-visible signs such as sounds or fragrances, or color shades used as distinguishing features – the possibilities are almost limitless.
IP Protection & Policies
Texas A&M University encourages the creation of intellectual property by its employees for the betterment of the public. We are committed to teaching, research, and public service, and research is one of the most important and rewarding aspects of the educational process. In the University’s role as steward over the use of public resources, it seeks to prudently manage such intellectual property stemming from research for the benefit of the public.
The Texas A&M System Policy 17.01 – Intellectual Property Management and Commercialization and its supporting Regulations, assures that the new ideas, discoveries and technologies arising from research conducted as a part of the educational process are to be used to the best interest of the System’s constituents and the public it serves.
By disclosing your invention, Innovation Partners, as the designated member commercialization office for the Texas A&M University member, can work with you to determine whether or not your invention is eligible for intellectual property protection and, if so, determine the appropriate method of protection. While not all inventions are protectable, when protection is appropriate, patents, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property can offer a competitive advantage that encourages companies to invest in your idea. Without some form of protection, most companies cannot justify the risk and expense of developing a new product, and your idea will not have the impact that it might otherwise have.
It is important to remember that although a technology may be protectable, it may not have high commercialization potential. Our office can work with you to determine your technology’s viability in the market, through the assessment of prior art (in the case of patents), market potential, and competitive landscape, among other key factors.
Get the scoop on protecting your ideas and intellectual property from an Aggie attorney.
Attorney Stephen Mason ’99 takes a deeper dive into understanding your relationship with your attorney and how this can be beneficial to both you and your attorney throughout the patent process.