Understanding Intellectual Property

The spirit of the competition is to reward innovation in the undergraduate student body. Georgia Tech is committed to protecting students' rights, as well as the rights of others in the community. We therefore have a number of criteria that inventions must meet in order to be eligible for the InVenture Prize. The Faculty Organizing Committee reserves the right to terminate eligibility if the spirit of the competition is violated. In this process, participants are committing to abide by the Georgia Tech Honor Code. Please email info@iisp.gatech.edu with questions.

Undergraduates will almost always retain 100% of their intellectual property at Georgia Tech. The IP policy at Tech is absolutely essential for the success of entrepreneurship and invention programs. In accordance with the Georgia Tech Intellectual Property Policy’s sub-paragraph 5.4.4, undergraduate students (Students) who are not employees of the Institute, are not performing research under a sponsored program, or are not using significant resources of the Institute (as defined in the Institute policies) do not have an obligation to assign their intellectual property rights to Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC).

During registration, inventors must:

Disclose contributions from other persons and use of resources other than incidental campus resources. Participants must disclose all contributions to the invention by professors, experts, employers (e.g., co-op, intern), and the like, whether inside or outside of the Georgia Tech community. The use of anything other than incidental campus resources (resources available to all Georgia Tech students) must also be reported. Such involvement does not automatically exclude the invention, but contributions should not be substantial and the student's role must be clearly delineated. We encourage submissions of course projects, research projects, employer projects, etc., with full disclosure during contest registration. The Faculty Organizing Committee reserves the right to investigate originality to determine eligibility.

Disclose related inventions (products and patents). Inventors must search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to learn about and disclose similar intellectual property, called "prior art." During the registration process, inventors will be asked to list similar products and patents and will also be asked to describe how their invention differs from these. Inventors can conduct this search independently with the links provided below. To work with the experts at the Georgia Tech Library and Information Center, please contact Lisha Li, Patents and Trademarks Subject Librarian, at lisha.li@library.gatech.edu or by calling (404) 385-7185 to schedule an appointment. There are also tutorials and guides listed in the Library's Patents and Trademarks Subject Guide. For self-directed patent searching, it is suggested to start with Google Patents, U.S. only, for viewing and downloading granted and published U.S. applications.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office's website here has basic facts and helpful information regarding patents. It is highly recommended that inventors read and understand this prior to registration.

Other search engines and patent download sites include:

Most patents are improvements upon existing patented ideas, and finding similar inventions is to be expected. Submit the most related/overlapping patents. Conversely, very rarely does a patent have no prior art (related patents), therefore find the closest prior art and submit it. The preliminary round of the competition will only be open to the Georgia Tech community. This does not constitute public disclosure, even if a presentation is enabling. Thus all rights to the intellectual property are retained by the inventors. All of the finalists' inventions and up to 20 total inventions will be provisionally patented at no cost to the inventors by the GT Office of Technology Licensing. This will preserve all rights of the finalists in the final round of the competition, which will be open to the public and media.