Inventors guide

When to talk to us

When should you tell us about your idea or invention?
The process of technology commercialisation can't start until you've told us about your idea, invention or new technology. In an ideal world, you would tell us about your ideas as soon as you possibly can.

One of the reasons we're so keen to hear about your ideas early is that it makes seeking intellectual property protection more straightforward. Protecting a novel technology through IP Rights such as patents is an important step in the commercialisation process, as it provides a substantial competitive advantage.

One significant requirement for patent protection is that an invention must be novel. This means that information on the invention should not be publicly available, either in written form or orally, before a patent application is filed. Once a patent application is filed, you can freely present and publish details of the technology.

If you disclose details of a novel invention publicly, IP protection is much harder to achieve. This can have a major impact on your ability commercialise research. Companies have to take a major risk when developing new products and are unlikely to do so if they will not enjoy the benefits of having a product or service no one else can offer.

It is therefore very important that you contact us early if you working on any novel research that could lead to commercial outcomes. You can contact us at any time - even if it's just to get on our radar - and we'll follow up regularly.

We have been working with Imperial College London for over 25 years, and we understand the competitive nature of research. This means we won't delay your publication without explicit consent. A good time to contact us is as the draft publication is written, but prior to any external presentation of the concept. If in doubt, please contact a member of our team at the earliest opportunity. It is better for us to become involved at the earliest stages, rather than late in the research process, as this gives us more time to make a thorough assessment of the technology.

However, if we become involved later on, we are able to quickly make a decision about whether or not to protect and file a patent, or provide an opinion on whether your invention can be protected yet.

You should bear in mind that patenting is an expensive process, so we do not file patents on all the research that we deal with, and that sometimes a patent is not necessary - for example, when another form of IP protection is sufficient.

Tell us about your idea or invention

Use the form below to let us know about an idea or invention you have developed. One of our experienced Technology Transfer executives will get back to you within seven working days.