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Tech Transfer


At Berkeley Lab, we protect inventions and computer software for a number of reasons.

There are two types of intellectual property protection frequently used at the Lab:

If you have developed software, please see more on intellectual protection for software.

Types of Patents

Provisional U.S. Patent Application:  When an invention appears to have commercial potential, the Lab may first file a provisional patent application, which is less costly than a regular U.S. patent application, and allows the Lab a year in which to promote the technology to gauge the level of industry interest.  During that time, an invention will be considered “patent pending.”  It is in researchers' best interest to describe the invention as thoroughly as possible on the Record of Invention form (Word doc) to help the Patent Attorney claim the broadest possible protection in the provisional patent application.

Regular U.S. Patent Application: Within a year after filing a provisional application, if the invention continues to show commercial promise, Berkeley Lab may file a regular patent application.  Your role, as an inventor, is to provide the scientific and technical input to the patent attorney in order to ensure that the invention is fully described.

Foreign Patent Application: The Lab may decide to file for foreign patent rights.  In such cases, reporting of your invention before any public disclosure is of critical importance.

Patenting Timelines

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Last updated: 11/05/2013