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The Commercialization Process

This section is intended to provide a basic overview of the commercialization process for an invention disclosed to STC.UNM. The technology commercialization process begins with an idea from a UNM inventor and culminates with introduction of that invention as a product or service into the marketplace. This process diagram shows the general steps in the commercialization process, beginning with disclosure.

Step 1: Disclosure

The technology commercialization process begins with the UNM inventor disclosing an invention in writing by submitting an invention disclosure form (IDF). There are two ways to submit an IDF; the preferred method is via STC.UNM’s online invention disclosure portal called Sophia, and the alternative is by submitting a paper (hard-copy) IDF. In either form, the inventor is submitting it to the UNM Research & Technology Law (RTL) office and to STC.UNM. Each method is discussed in detail below:

  • Submitting a Disclosure via the Sophia System
    • Inventors start by logging into the Sophia system found at this link: https://unm.wellspringsoftware.net/kms/. From there, inventors log-in using their existing UNM NET ID and corresponding password. If you do not have a UNM NET ID and password, please contact STC for assistance.
    • The online IDF system walks inventors through the disclosure process by asking questions related to the lead inventor and other co-inventors, dates of conception of the invention, funding sources, and details of any past or pending public disclosures. It also asks for a short summary of the invention and a complete description of the invention, which can be provided in the form of attached documents.
    • Any supporting documents (manuscripts, publications, posters, write-ups, summaries, images, etc.) and all related grants or funding documents should be uploaded through the system and attached to the disclosure in the supporting files section.
    • Once the IDF is complete, STC.UNM will contact all of the inventors to arrange for collecting dated signatures of all inventors, dated signatures of witnesses who understand the invention, and the dated signature of the department chair.
  • Submitting a Disclosure via a paper (hard-copy) Invention Disclosure Form
    • Depending on the type of disclosure, i.e. invention or copyright, Inventors start by downloading the disclosure form by clicking on the appropriate link on the right side of this page.
    • The lead inventor should fill out the IDF form in its entirety. This include filling out all sections 1-6 including information on the lead inventor and other co-inventors, dates of conception of the invention, funding sources, and details of any past or pending public disclosures. It also asks for a short summary of the invention and a complete description of the invention, which can be provided in the form of attached documents.
    • Any supporting documents (manuscripts, publications, posters, write-ups, summaries, images, etc.) and all related grants or funding documents should be attached to the disclosure when submitted. Digital versions of the supporting files will be requested later by STC staff.
    • Once the IDF is complete, the lead inventor may submit it without signatures and STC will work to gather the necessary signatures after receipt of the disclosure. If preferred, the inventors may coordinate and gather the necessary signatures on the document including the dated signatures of all inventors, dated signatures of witnesses who understand the invention, and the dated signature of the department chair. Additionally, the IDF requires that each inventor sign and have notarized an assignment of rights page at the end of the IDF form; the inventors name and address and the title of the invention must be added to each assignment form before it is signed and notarized.
    • The hard-copy IDF can be submitted in the following ways:
      • Via e-mail to STC’s Documents Coordinator or Innovation Staff
      • Via Postal Mail to STC (801 University Blvd. SE Suite #101, Albuquerque NM, 87106)
      • Via UNM’s intercampus mail system (UNM MS 04 2750)

This information submitted in the Invention Disclosure Form and related files are then used to develop a patent application and marketing/commercialization materials.

Step 2: Evaluation

The completed invention disclosure form (IDF) is reviewed by STC to ensure the completeness of the invention description and for evaluation of the technology for intellectual property protection. STC may request additional information from the inventors to fully understand the disclosed invention. The evaluation of the disclosed idea includes the protectability and commercial potential.

Step 3: Intellectual Property Protection

Patenting is the most commonly considered method of intellectual property protection; however, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are other means of intellectual property protection.

Step 4: Marketing/Commercialization

Marketing

Marketing of an invention may begin as soon as it is disclosed or at least as soon as a provisional patent application or utility patent application is filed, or some other intellectual property protection has been initiated. Successful marketing is often the product of close collaboration between inventors and STC.

STC begins by preparing a non-confidential description of the invention which includes links to manuscripts, videos or any public documents related to the invention. This non-confidential description of the invention is posted on STC’s website through Flintbox as a means of advertising that the technology is available for licensing.

Through market research, networking and with the materials prepared, STC identifies applications for its inventions and contacts established companies to generate interest in its technology portfolio. Inventors may have connections with industry, entrepreneurs, and/or investors and STC encourages that you share that information with STC’s Marketing Manager.

Commercialization

For those inventions suitable for a start-up, STC works to link business entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and UNM faculty to support the development of a start-up company. Several meetings are held per week to preview technologies to investors and entrepreneurs. STC has a preference, whenever possible, to commercialize its technologies within New Mexico. The Joseph L. Cecchi VentureLab (CVL), STC’s business incubator program, was created to provide the support and information that start-ups need to thrive. The CVL has several resources and is a connection point for university faculty, staff, and student inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, and others. The CVL assists with the commercialization of UNM technologies by facilitating the formation of startup companies.

STC negotiates agreements with established or start-up companies. Terms of these agreements depend on a number of factors, such as the size of the market opportunity, contribution of the technology, and the approach to commercializing the technology.