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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Intellectual Property

UW–Madison researchers generate hundreds of new inventions every year, many which greatly benefit society. Through the patenting and licensing efforts of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the designated technology transfer organization, these inventions result in income for inventors, while also providing money for future research.

The university’s mission of discovering and transmitting knowledge and providing service to the public creates an environment that is conducive to the conception and development of many forms of intellectual property. When the results of our research efforts have commercial value, these efforts can often be enhanced through the use of patents, copyrights or other forms of protection.

The UW is unique among U.S. universities in that it does not claim ownership rights in the intellectual property generated by its faculty, staff, or students, except when required by funding agreements. UW inventors do, however, have an obligation to disclose all inventions created while carrying out university duties, using any university funding, or using university premises, supplies, or equipment. It is the role of the UW–Madison Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education to perform an equity review for each UW–Madison invention disclosure to determine what obligations may attach to each invention and who may have rights to the invention.

To learn more, review the Third Way Report.