Montana State University

About the Technology Transfer Office

The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) works to commercialize the inventions of MSU faculty, spur entrepreneurship based on MSU technology and provide a gateway for industry looking to utilize MSU resources. The benefits of technology transfer accrue to faculty, MSU centers, departments and colleges, as well as local and national corporations.

The TTO Commercialization Process:

  1. Pre-disclosure

    The TTO meets with faculty to discuss the applicability of their research to industry and identify possible inventions.

  2. Disclosure Review

    As a result of faculty meetings or in response to unsolicited disclosures, the TTO reviews Intellectual Property Disclosure Forms (IPDF's) submitted by inventors.

  3. Patent Assessment

    TTO staff determine the possibility of securing IP protection based on such factors as novelty, uniqueness and usefulness.

  4. Market Assessment

    TTO staff assess the market potential for disclosed inventions based generally on the value proposition of the invention, need in the marketplace, competition, potential costs and revenues to a commercializing entity and other variables.

  5. Marketing

    Inventions which have progressed to this stage are assessed as to their potential to be licensed to existing Montana companies or entrepreneurs as new Montana start ups. If it is determined that the invention is not suitable for commercialization in state, TTO staff actively market nationally using new media strategies and traditional marketing tactics.

  6. Licensing

    If the TTO is successful in interesting a potential licensee, staff work collaboratively with the prospect to realize benefits to inventors and MSU while providing a structure whereby the invention can be commercially successful.

  7. Monitoring

    Tracking performance milestones, invoicing for royalty payments, managing patent prosecution and communicating with licensees and inventors is an ongoing and time intensive function of the TTO.

At any point up to the licensing stage, the TTO may abandon the marketing efforts and patent prosecution related to a particular invention based on factors including new market information, costs versus potential licensing income or new technical information from the inventor.

In addition to commercializing inventions, the TTO also performs a very important role in the ongoing management of licensed technologies and agreements between MSU and industry which contain intellectual property provisions.