A Guide for Inventors at INL — 2017 1 What is intellectual property? Intellectual property (IP) encompasses all forms of creativity such as inventions, software, discoveries, creative or artistic works, know-how, processes and unique materials. For example, IP may be embodied in machines, devices, instruments, computer programs, circuits, biological materials, chemicals, composition of matter, books, videos, photographs, paintings, sculptures or songs. IP is protected by law through patent, copyright, trademark and trade secrets. Multiple forms of protection may apply to the same piece of IP. For example, commercially available software would typically be protected by at least copyright and trademark, and sometimes by a patent. Due to government funding, trade secret protection is generally not allowed at INL. IP is also protected through agreements that control its access and use. What is technology transfer? Technology transfer is the movement of knowledge, ideas, discoveries and innovations from one organization to another. It can occur through publication, education, employment, participation in scientific meetings, collaborations and licensing activities. For the purposes of this guide, technology transfer primarily refers to moving commercially valuable innovations from INL to private industry through the process of protecting, marketing and licensing IP. Technology transfer ensures that INL’s research is deployed to accomplish INL’s mission, increase the nation’s economic competitiveness and improve the public’s quality of life. Two deployment examples are: 1) INL’s Portable Isotopic Neutron Spectroscopy system, which is used to save lives by finding and destroying unexploded ordnances, and 2) NanoSteel’s lightweight steel, used for helping the auto industry make vehicles lighter and stronger while striving to meet EPA requirements. Why would someone want to participate in the technology transfer process? Although employment at INL requires participation in the technology transfer process, involvement has additional benefits: • making a positive impact on society and achieving personal fulfillment • achieving recognition, career advancement and sharing in license royalties • attracting new sponsors and generating additional funding for further research and development Overview ‘The value of an idea lies in the using of it.’ – Thomas Edison