Technology Transfer Definitions

Methodology, Definitions, Notes, & Sources

Technology Transfer


Activities to protect and commercialize new intellectual properties include: new invention disclosures, patents issued, licenses & options executed and start-up companies formed.

Researchers at higher education institutions file invention disclosure forms with their institutions to initiate the process of protecting discoveries made while conducting research. Institutional review of these disclosures determines which inventions the institution will protect and commercialize using available resources. Higher education institutions typically apply for patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which legally grants property rights that exclude others from making, using, or selling the intellectual property. Further development and commercialization of intellectual property is frequently accomplished through licensing agreements between private companies and higher education institutions. (THECB)

Gross Revenue from Intellectual Property (IP)
Revenues received from IP owned by the institution includes royalties and fees, cashed-in equity, and reimbursed legal expenses (including patent prosecution costs). (THECB)

Licenses & options executed
In exchange for cash or other negotiated considerations, an institution may grant an exclusive license to allow only one company to use the intellectual property or a non-exclusive license that allows others to use it. (THECB)

New Invention Disclosures
Invention is any art or process (way of doing or making things), machine, manufacture, design, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, or any variety of plant, which is or may be patentable under the patent laws of the United States. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)

Start-up companies formed
Corporations, partnerships and other business entities formed to commercialize institution-owned intellectual property. (THECB)

U.S. Patents issued
Patent is a property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)


Revenue from intellectual property is expected to vary over time at an institution as new licensing agreements are executed, older agreements expire, and equity is held or sold.

The data presented in the report was collected from THECB through FY2012 and then from AUTM starting FY2013. The THECB report was discontinued.

The UT Brownsville and UT Pan American campuses closed at the end of AY 2015. UT Rio Grande Valley began enrolling students in Fall 2015.


  • Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). Data is entered annually by each member institution. Data is entered and available in their Statistics Access for Tech Transfer (STATT) system. System contains academic licensing data. Definitions of the data items can be found here. AUTM does not attempt to analyze the data it collects. AUTM's role is to survey its members and compile the data as reported, and then allow academic economists, policy specialists, ethicists and others to elucidate the underlying causality and implications of these statistics.
  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Technology Development and Transfer Report. Texas Education Code, Section 153.008, directs the THECB to prepare a report biennially on the technology transfer efforts of the state’s public universities and health-related institutions. This report is a compilation of data provided by each institution.
  • Definition Source - glossary at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

More on this Topic

UT System Office of Technology Commercialization