Tell Us About Your Idea

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A member of the Knowledge Transfer Team will support you in completing an Invention Disclosure Form

A disclosure form should be completed if you have evidence of a discovery that potentially may have a commercial application(s) either through licensing or through the creation of a start-up company.

[pdf title="UCD IDF July 2017 Form" url="/innovation/filebank/UCD_IDF_July_2017.doc" size="260kb" color="tile-red"]

An invention should be disclosed to the Knowledge Transfer team before it has been published or presented in public. In most countries, disclosure can destroy the novelty and the inventive step of the invention thus greatly reducing or prohibiting the ability to protect the invention by patent. A notable exception is the United States, where patent rights may be obtained until the first anniversary of the date of the first publication/disclosure describing the invention.

If you are unsure as to how to proceed or you wish to make a general enquiry please contact a member of the Knowledge Transfer team.


What’s in it for me? 

University College Dublin's Intellectual Property Policy and Procedures were developed in accordance with international best practice.

University College Dublin, Intellectual Property Policy and Procedures (2018)  

This Policy takes account of the changes in legislation, including the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 and is consistent with Funding Agency Requirements and Guidelines for Managing Research-Generated Intellectual Property and the National Codes of Practice.

The Policy also provides for a significant level of commercial income to be distributed to researchers and other creators of Intellectual Property (IP). The distribution of commercial income is through the UCD payroll system and is paid regardless of your current employment status with UCD.

 The following scale, outlined in the table below, will apply in the sharing of net income available for distribution to the creators of IP.

Net Income Creators of IP College University
Up to €100,000 75% 15% 10%
€100,000- €200,000 50% 30% 20%
€200,000 - €1,000,000 40% 30% 30%
Over €1,000,000 30% 30% 40%

For further information or enquiries please contact a member of the Knowledge Transfer team.

You may be interested in exploring the option of commercialising your technology or invention through the creation of a new company, known as a spin-out company. Only some inventions or technologies may be suitable for the creation of a spin-out company.

The team within UCD Research and Innovation will assist you in the establishment and development of a spin-out company. We have a proven track record in supporting entrepreneurs and start-up companies from the early feasibility stage through to business development, growth and investment.

We provide access to incubation facilities and a comprehensive business support programme which includes advice, seminars, one-to-one consultancy, workshops and individual training.

The 3-month UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme is designed to equip UCD researchers with the knowledge, skills and understanding that will be required to work as part of a team leading a new commercial venture. On completion of the programme, the expectation is that participating in new venture projects will have developed a commercially viable business plan.

There are a number of key elements for a spin-out company to be successful including:

  • Market
  • Intellectual Property
  • Team
  • Funding


It will be necessary to assess the potential market opportunity for your technology or invention.

Conducting market research for novel technologies can be very challenging and it is likely that you will use many sources of information in order to carry out your market assessment. Market assessment should be ongoing in order to continually assess customers’ needs and to guide research and development of your project. The market information pertaining to your project will, therefore, build and develop over time. The Market Assessment Guide for Research Staff which is available in our downloads section may be beneficial.

Intellectual Property (IP)

The intellectual property you have developed is likely to be paramount to the development of the spin-out company. There are various forms of intellectual property which are detailed in the Intellectual Property Guide. The Knowledge Transfer team will assist you to protect your intellectual property.

Building the team

In order to attract investment into the spin-out company, it is necessary that a commercial management team is put in place with a strong track record and proven management skills. The team will build over time to include individuals with experience in marketing, finance and sales.

An important part of the team will be you i.e. the researcher and your research team. As the originators of the intellectual property, you will be paramount to the transfer of IP to the company.

Also your continuing involvement with the development of the intellectual property may be essential in the development of the company. NovaUCD, the Centre for New Venture and Entrepreneurs, has a highly networked community of entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors. The Office of the Vice President for Innovation can assist you to access this network and facilitate necessary introductions.

Sourcing Investment

Money is usually required for knowledge intensive start-ups to assist the business to develop and grow. In addition to government grant funding, sources of finance include investments from:

  • Company promoters themselves
  • Friends and family
  • Angel investors
  • University Bridge Fund
  • Other venture capitalists

UCD Research and Innovation can assist you to access this network and facilitate necessary introductions and will assist you to develop a business plan in order to present your company to investors.

There are generally two routes in licensing intellectual property (IP):

  • Licensing IP to an existing, established company in which the IP complements their business
  • Licensing IP to a new start-up company in which the IP is key to the company’s development

If the decision is made to commercialise the invention via licensing to an existing company or a new start-up company the Technology Transfer team will prepare a non-confidential summary of the invention in consultation with you.

This summary will outline the key features of the invention and advantages over existing technologies. This will then be sent to potential licensees. Sometimes you may be able to identify companies which would be interested in the technology.

Any revenues received by NovaUCD arising from the licence agreement will be shared with you in accordance with UCD’s Intellectual Property Policy and Procedures.

Licensing to Existing Companies

If an existing established company expresses interest then the Technology Transfer team will conclude a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) between the company and UCD so further confidential details can be shared relating to the invention.

This will enable the company to more fully evaluate the opportunity. If the marketing efforts are successful, the ultimate goal is to license your invention either on a non-exclusive or exclusive basis to the company in its area of commercial interest.

Negotiations can take several weeks to several months depending on the complexities and/or the due diligence required. Depending on the nature of the IP negotiation terms may include:

  • Upfront payments (especially if any modifications are required)
  • Annual payments
  • Fixed payments on milestones
  • Royalties (with minimum payments)

In addition to the financial terms, other factors such as the duration of the agreement, the territories to be covered by the licence agreement have to be agreed.

  NDA Non-Disclosure Agreement Form   PDF | 4mb

Licensing to a New Start-up Company

If the IP is to be licensed to a new start-up company then the Technology Transfer team will put in place a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) between the start-up company and UCD. In the case of the start-up company, the IP can be key to the company development.

Similar negotiations will take place with the start-up company as when licensing to an existing company but there are a few differences. Firstly, in order to assist the company in being successful UCD will not insist on payments until company is cash positive. In addition, performance milestones will be set in order to prevent the IP from being 'locked up' in case the company fails.

Further Information

For further information or assistance contact a member of the Knowledge Transfer team.