University of Northern Iowa



Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer

Intellectual Property Visual Intellectual Property Logo

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property (IP) is the individual and collective creative content created by faculty, staff, graduate students, and some undergraduate students at the University of Northern Iowa. Intellectual property consists of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. At UNI, IP has generated $1 million in royalties over the past decade.

Intellectual Property at UNI

At UNI, faculty and staff have an obligation to disclose their research that might have IP potential. Graduate students whose research involves only secondary research resources do not have an obligation to disclose; however, graduate students whose research is primary, involves the creation of a product, process, algorithm, new terminology, etc. must contact the Intellectual Property Office to determine if they need to disclose. Undergraduate students are not obligated to disclose; however, in order to receive guidance and technical assistance, disclosing may be recommended. Undergrads who disclose are eligible to receive help from the University. The full intellectual property policy is available here: Additionally, these policies may be important to you also: 9.03 Conflict of Interest, 9.54 Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources, 10.08 Distributed Learning and IP Rights We encourage faculty, staff, and students to contact the IP office to discuss your potential intellectual property and if you need to officially disclose it to the University. You may contact Paul Kinghorn at or call 319-273-4327. Here is the link to the disclosure form: /sites/default/files/2019_uni_ip_full_disclosure_document.docx

Any UNI program, center, department, or individual, other than Athletics, that has trademarkable words or phrases, visual identities, etc. should contact the office of the University Counsel. The University Counsel keeps a list of all UNI trademarks and makes sure maintenance and renewal fees are paid on time for UNI trademark intellectual property.

UNI programs, centers, departments, or individuals may file for copyrights without the assistance of the Intellectual Property Office at If you would like assistance, you may contact University Counsel. Information on copyrights from a creator's perspective and from a user's perspective may be found at:


We invite you to apply to be a part of our FALL 2022 UNI Innovators Workshop and learn alongside your fellow UNI colleagues. For those who are looking to make an impact with your research, this workshop is a great place to start. 


This initiative targets faculty and staff researchers, providing an overview of the commercialization process. 


Participants will learn the verbiage that appeals to grant/contract examiners and leads to greater funding successes. Additionally, attendees will discover ways in which they can monetize their research, providing future income for themselves and revenue for their department. 

UNI Innovators Workshop

Duty to Disclose

Any individual(s) using University resources in the process of developing or discovering intellectual property must properly disclose in a reasonable and prompt manner the conception and/or reduction to practice of potentially patentable or otherwise legally securable inventions in keeping with the time restriction of U.S. Patent or Trademark law. Such disclosure shall be made to the UNI Intellectual Property Officer.

UNI’s Intellectual Property Policy was established as a no-cost service to assist faculty, staff, and students in properly disclosing and protecting intellectual property (IP). IP is any new, novel, and useful idea or product created by 
individuals through their own initiative. IP may be protected in the form of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. IP protection provides inventors, authors, and the University with exclusive ownership rights. 

Benefits of Disclosing

  • ∙Establishes ownership rights and gives credit to the inventor(s). 

  • ∙Protects IP against infringement and unauthorized use.  

  • ∙Initial patent costs are paid by the UNI Research Foundation.

  • ∙Patent search and market research provided at no cost to the inventor(s).

  • ∙IPO can assist with proper placement of the IP in the public domain, or licensing for commercial use. 

  • ∙Ensures that all parties entitled to royalty compensation are identified. 


DID you know


Properly disclosing IP ensures that inventors are in compliance with University policy. Disclosure establishes ownership and protects the rights of all contributors to the IP. 

Disclosing is Easy

Contact the IPO and complete a short one-page disclosure form. This form ensures that the date of discovery is established and recorded. 

IP/TT contacts at UNI

Several people serve UNI by being members of the Intellectual Property Committee.
The IPC reviews disclosures from faculty, staff, and students to determine if UNI has any interest in pursuing protection for potential intellectual property.

The members of the IPC are:

  • Paul Kinghorn, Intellectual Property Officer

  • Randy Pilkington, Co-chair, UNI Research Foundation

  • Bart Bergquist, Department of Biology

  • Bill Harwood, Department of Chemistry, Science and Technology Officer 

  • Tolif Hunt, Research & Sponsored Programs

  • Tim Kidd, Department of Physics

  • Tim McKenna, University Council

  • Hillery Oberle, Corporate & Foundation Relations

  • Paul Torre, Department of Communication Studies

  • Stacy Robinson, Advancement Financial Services

  • Jennifer Waldron, Associate Provost

IP-TT Diagram

UNI Inventors

Curtiss Hanson 

Curtiss Hanson is a professor of analytical chemistry and a prolific faculty researcher. His areas of research include analytical applications of mass spectrometry for biomolecule analysis using Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) and gas phase ion-, molecule chemistry using Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR). These instruments provide research opportunities in classical physical analytical areas for both graduate and undergraduate students. He holds several patents in the areas of mass spectrometry. These include 9,564.304 Ion trap mass analyzer apparatus, methods, and systems utilizing one or more multiple potential ion guide (MPIG) electrodes; 9,190,254 Ion trap mass analyzer apparatus, methods, and systems utilizing one or more multiple potential ion guide (MPIG) electrodes; 8,933,397 Ion trap mass analyzer apparatus, methods, and systems utilizing one or more multiple potential ion guide (MPIG) electrodes; 6,657,190 Variable potential ion guide for mass spectrometry; 6,149,881 Pyrolysis methods for increasing limonene production and novel oven to facilitate such method; 6,013,913 Multi-pass reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometer; 5,977,421 Pyrolysis method for increasing limonene production and novel oven to facilitate such methods.


Photo of Curtiss Hanson

Photo of Jerry Thiel showing off some of his work to a woman wearing a gray shirt and blue necklace


      Jerry Thiel 

Jerry Thiel is the director of the UNI Metal Casting Center. He has a diverse industry background and has held management positions in metal casting and related industries for more than 40 years. His background includes metal casting experience in steel, iron, and non-ferrous alloys. Jerry holds degrees in materials science, manufacturing, and manufacturing process development and has published numerous research papers pertaining to molding and core materials for the foundry industry. He is a co-inventor on several patents and is the sole inventor of Patent 8,815,976 B2 Humic substances-based polymer systems. Jerry has received numerous awards from the American Foundry Society. 

Jeremiah Treloar

Jeremiah Treloar was working with UNI’s Iowa Waste Reduction Center’s (IWRC) Star-4D program when he and others first conceived of a 2D virtual paint program. It evolved over the years into Virtual Paints, LLC. where 
Jeremiah and his partners are making it a commercial venture.
We always had people that helped us understand. It was a lot to take on right away figuring out what are the best ways to create the claims that are unique about your product versus everyone else’s. The University was very helpful in making that easy on us. Allowing us to focus on research but also being able to make sure that the patent had the language that protects the intellectual property we were creating. —Jeremiah Treloar

 Jeremiah Treloar

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319-273-IOWA (4692)