One of the University’s goals is to cultivate and sustain an environment that supports faculty innovation and entrepreneurship. The University provides a variety of training and logistical support services for faculty members who are interested in technology transfer and entrepreneurial ventures. For more information about this programming visit the entrepreneurship page of the CUNY Office of Research website.
The TCO is the central processing office of new technology and software disclosures for all CUNY colleges. The TCO staff evaluates new inventions for their commercial applications, develops a protection and marketing strategy, files patents and registers copyrights when appropriate, facilitates the transfer of CUNY intellectual property, and supports the formation of spinoff companies. As such, the TCO is responsible for crafting various agreements, from option and licensing agreements to nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements. Faculty or staff who have questions regarding the CUNY Intellectual Property Policy or other issues related to their IP, or who wish to create a license agreement, should contact staff at the Technology Commercialization Office to discuss.
a. New Technology Disclosure (NTD)
The New Technology Disclosure form is the first step in the process of documenting a new invention or discovery. The purpose of the NTD is to record what was invented and the conditions under which the invention was made. Pursuant to the CUNY IP Policy, researchers must submit an NTD whenever they have conceived or developed a new and useful technology or idea, obtained unusual and promising research results, or otherwise created or obtained intellectual property that is or may be owned by CUNY pursuant to the IP Policy.
Researchers required to submit an NTD should contact the Technology Commercialization Office staff in the Office of Research.
b. License Agreements
CUNY protects its intellectual property in different ways, mostly using the laws of patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Obtaining a patent for an innovation creates a concrete means for granting rights to that innovation to a commercial entity. In other cases, an original, tangible work product, like a software program, textbook or other creative work, is immediately protected under copyright law upon its creation without any government filing. As with the patented innovation, rights to this copyrighted work can then be granted to a commercial partner, using a license agreement. These types of license agreements are the contractual basis under which CUNY is compensated for use of the licensed CUNY IP.
The Technology Commercialization Office also handles Nondisclosure Agreements and Materials Transfer Agreements. Please see Chapter 4 on Research Agreements in this document for the definition and discussion of these forms.
- CUNY Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The CUNY Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a NYSTAR-designated Innovation Hot Spot, is a business incubator designed to promote faculty entrepreneurship and start-up companies. The Hub has been established by CUNY to promote and support faculty entrepreneurship, create educational and career opportunities for students, and foster collaborations with business and industry, through the business incubator model. More information about the facilities and services provides by the Hub can be found at the CUNY Hub for Innovation & Entrepreneurship website.
- Entrepreneurship Training Programs
Below are two programs currently offered by the University to support faculty-led innovation and entrepreneurship.
- New York City Regional Innovation Node
The New York City Regional Innovation Node (NYCRIN) offers commercialization training and support to university innovators. NYCRIN provides NSF I-Corps training—utilizing the Lean LaunchPad method—to cohorts of faculty investigators, students, and industrial mentors who are interested in pursuing the development of spinoff companies based on their inventions. More information about the program and how to apply can be found at the NYCRIN website.
- PowerBridgeNY – New York City Clean Energy Proof-of-Concept Center
CUNY, in partnership with New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering (NYU-Poly), receives funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for a Proof of Concept Center (POCC) dedicated to helping New York State inventors and scientists turn their high-tech, clean-energy ideas into successful businesses. PowerBridgeNY offers faculty innovators grants of up to $150,000. For more information about the grant program and educational and networking events, visit the PowerBridgeNY website.