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Frequently Asked Questions
- WHAT SHOULD I DO IF A COMPANY APPROACHES ME WITH A RESEARCH IDEA?
Contact Dr. Lynne Opperman, who will help you negotiate a research agreement contract with the company. Contact the Director of Technology Development or the Associate Dean for Research at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, who will help you with budgetary issues, the research design, and any IACUC or IRB issues.
- WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I WANT TO TEST A SPECIFIC COMPANY’S DENTAL OR DENTAL HYGEINE PRODUCT?
Contact Dr. Lynne Opperman, who will help you prepare a material transfer agreement (MTA) with the company. Contact the Director of Technology Development or the Associate Dean for Research at TAMBCD, who will help you with budgetary issues, the research design, and any IACUC or IRB issues.
- WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE A GOOD IDEA/TECHNOLOGY FOR DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING?
Faculty member comes up with new idea/invention for a product/technology. Idea/invention: Conception of a new drug, drug combination, device or system for treating patients; conception of a novel technique, system or process for conducting research. Product/technology: Physical device; drug; software
With the help of the Director of Technology Development, put together a disclosure (in agreement with faculty member/ director of technology development and department chair). Disclosure: Document fully describing the new invention, its novelty, and applicability. Also describes similar pre-existing inventions, and any publications using similar technologies. Lists timing of all discussions, meetings, publications, presentations relating to the disclosed invention. A within-component assessment will be done to establish if the disclosure should move forward (see flow chart of technology development at TAMBCD).
If the in-house assessment is that the disclosure should be submitted to OTC, the disclosure will be forwarded to the OTC by the Director of Technology Development.
- WHAT HAPPENS TO MY DISCLOSURE ONCE IT IS ROUTED TO THE OFFICE OF TECHNOLOGY COMMERCIALIZATION AT TAMUS?
After initial screening, disclosure may be submitted by OTC to an attorney for a patentability opinion. See flow chart of events from initial idea to full patent). Patentability opinion: A legal opinion based on a search of the patent office database, listing all pre-existing patents related to the invention, and any obstacles to filing a successful patent based on the new invention (Cost about $1,500).
Based on a favorable patentability opinion, OTC will do a market assessment (no cost to component, as done in-house at the OTC). Market assessment: A legal/commercial assessment of the commercial potential of the invention, based on market share (competing products and percent of market being targeted) and commercial viability (cost assessment of product development costs, manufacturing costs and fair market value).
Based on a favorable market assessment, the OTC will make a recommendation to the component to file a provisional patent (costs are about $1,500-2,000). This opinion will include the potential for progress within the 1-year provisional patent period, and the pros and cons of waiting to file the provisional patent (for example: early stage inventions may benefit from further development with SBIR/STTR grants before filing a provisional patent). Provisional patent: A legal document providing a date of official disclosure. Does not guarantee successful filing of a full patent. Provides short-term protection for a patentable idea while it is being disclosed to other commercial entities.
If the department agrees with filing a provisional patent, they will be liable for the costs, and will be liable for the costs of a full patent application that must be filed after 1 year (patentability is not usually threatened with expiry of a provisional patent). These costs vary from $10,000 and up.
If the department declines to file a provisional patent, the OTC will generally pass the ownership of the invention back to the faculty member.
- HOW DO I RAISE MONEY OR GET A GRANT TO TEST MY IDEA?
The Director of Technology Development will help you apply for in-house grants from the OVPRGS or the Office of the Associate Dean for Research, and/or with applications for SBIR/STTR grants. Grants can also be obtained through research agreements with outside corporations that may be interested in licensing the technology.
- WHAT ARE INDIRECT COSTS ON A GRANT?
Indirect costs (IDCs) are also referred to as Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs. The F&A fee covers costs for maintaining the building, for lights, dental chairs, support personnel etc. Texas A&M University System has a negotiated indirect cost rate with the federal government of 45.5%. For example, if NIH awards a $1,000,000.00 grant for total direct costs (cost to run the study), they also send an added 45.5% or $455,000.00 as an F&A fee. Many companies balk at paying F&A fees. However, it is possible to jeopardize our negotiated contract with the federal government, and risk a reduction in the 45.5% cost rate if TAMBCD accepts grants from for-profit entities with lower than 45.5% IDCs. Therefore, it is imperative to inform companies of the negotiated federal F&A rate, and to negotiate as close a rate to that as the company will bear. It is suggested that the Director of Technology Development or the Associate Dean for Research at TAMBCD be consulted prior to discussing grant budgets and indirect costs with companies wanting to fund projects.
- HOW DOES MY PARTICIPATION OR LACK OF PARTICIPATION IN TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AFFECT MY TENURE OR PROMOTION AT TAMBCD?
The TAMHSC rule 12.01.99.Z1.01 on tenure and promotion clearly states that technology development is a criterion that will count positively toward tenure or promotion. Faculty members who do not become involved in the technology development arena, either by choice or happenstance will not be negatively evaluated for the absence of participation.
- WHAT IS THE PROFIT-SHARING POLICY FOR TECHNOLOGIES DEVELOPED BY FACULTY AT TAMBCD?
After commercialization and development costs have been defrayed, 25% of System revenues will devolve to the OTC (see flow chart of revenue-sharing policy at TAMBCD). Half of the remaining revenues will devolve to the inventor, and the other half devolves to TAMBCD. Remaining revenues are distributed according to assumed risk within the school. An example is given in the chart, in which the TDO assumes a 20% risk and the department assumes 80% risk for development costs.
- DOES TAMBCD OWN EVERY INVENTION I CREATE?
The Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System owns rights to inventions created by employees where one of the following is true: the invention is related to TAMBCD employment duties, the invention was made using TAMBCD or any TAMUS facilities, or the invention was created on TAMBCD time. If you invent something unrelated to your TAMBCD employment on your free time and using your facilities, then TAMBCD will not claim ownership to that invention.
TAMBCD owns the rights to inventions created under non-federal grants issued to the College unless the granting organization specifically retains ownership of inventions via the grant agreement.
Ownership of inventions created under a Sponsored Research Agreement, Lab Study Agreement, Clinical Study Agreement, or Material Transfer Agreement is dictated by the language in the Agreement. Therefore, it is critical to inform Dr. Lynne Opperman and the TAMBCD Technology Development Office of these Agreements when an invention is disclosed.
- WHAT HAPPENS IF I INVENTED WITH NIH (OR ANOTHER AGENCY'S) FUNDS?
TAMBCD owns the rights to inventions created under federal grants issued to the College. Additionally, the United States government also has certain rights to inventions created under federal grants. TAMBCD must inform the NIH of your invention within two months of the invention's disclosure. Within one year of the invention's disclosure, TAMBCD must inform the NIH if it elects to retain title to the invention.
- WHAT IF MY CO-INVENTORS ARE EMPLOYED BY DIFFERENT ENTITIES?
TAMBCD will work with the entities that employ co-inventors to formulate a Joint Ownership Agreement whereby the entities agree to share or delegate costs, revenues, and commercialization opportunities for that invention.
- MY QUESTION IS NOT HERE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Contact Lynne Opperman at 214-828-8134, or at email@example.com