The first step in disclosing your discovery - whether it is a patentable invention, technique and know-how, a biological material or another form of intellectual property - is to fill out an invention disclosure report (IDR) form (below). The form may be downloaded and submitted electronically through WARF's secure email page, or printed and sent to WARF through the U.S. mail. Please note that a completed IDR form is needed to complete WARF's and the UW-Madison's disclosure review processes.
Important note: Patents filed prior to any public disclosure will have a stronger patent position under the America Invents Act (AIA). If you anticipate publicly disclosing your invention in less than three months time or face other urgent circumstances, please contact one of WARF's intellectual property managers in your area of scientific expertise immediately. Guidance on who to contact may be found through the WARF employee directory.
After WARF receives your IDR form, a member of WARF's intellectual property team will contact you to set up a disclosure meeting. (See below for a description of this meeting.)
The IDR asks you to provide a brief description of your technology, the dates of your discovery, advantages of your technology over any preexisting technologies and information about any disclosures of your new technology. This information is needed by UW-Madison and WARF to review funding sources and obligations for notification requirements and other rights. It also aids WARF in determining whether the invention will meet the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's criteria for patenting or if the invention can be protected by other means. It is important to have this information on record as early as possible, in case a patent is obtained and later challenged.