University of Northern Iowa



Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer


Intellectual Property Visual

Intellectual Property Logo


What is Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer?

Intellectual Property (IP) can be defined as any new, novel, and useful product that is created by the mind of individuals through their research and development. The creation of new inventions and the improvement of earlier technologies are the primary driving force of our economy today. To expand and run more efficiently, our economy relies on the sharing and transfer of technology.


Technology transfer is the process by which technology is transferred from federal labs, universities, or other research institutions to an industry where it can be developed into a commercial product or service. Tech Transfer helps inventors to assess the commercial feasibility of University Inventions & Intellectual Property (IP), file patent applications as appropriate, and develop strategies to market and license the technologies to the industry. 


Impact Driven Innovation

The University of Northern Iowa is committed to encouraging, facilitating, and promoting the development of patentable or copyrightable intellectual property and know-how to benefit the inventor, the educational mission of the University, industry, and the people of Iowa. We profit from the individual and collective creative content created by faculty, staff, graduate students, and some undergraduate students at UNI.

It is our mission to foster entrepreneurship, patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets that translate UNI innovations into valuable solutions that enrich the industry and people in Iowa, the nation, and the world. 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.


"UNI is an innovative university,

generating $1 million in royalties over

the past decade. Now that is an


-Paul Kinghorn


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. Learn more about Intellectual Property, view the highlights of the UNI Intellectual Property PolicyClaim Intellectual Property Rights, and further information about Intellectual Property.


Types of Intellectual Property

Patent: Protects an invention for 20 years from the date of filing.

Trade secret: Is any information, device, method, formula, etc. whether or not copyrightable or patentable,
which is not generally known or accessible apart from the University, and which gives a competitive advantage to its owner.

Copyright: Protect written and artistic works for the life of the author, plus 70 years.

Trademark: Protects icons such as words, names, symbols, or designs that symbolize a certain individual or organization,
for as long as the icon remains in regular use. Examples include “UNI”, “Nike”, and “GM”.


IP-TT Diagram


Technology Transfer at UNI is achieved only if the creators benefit from sharing their original work and ideas with the public. The public compensates creators for their work by granting them Intellectual Property protection in the form of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. These forms of IP protection provide inventors and authors with exclusive rights to the benefits of their creation and allow the creator to license or sell these exclusive rights for a profit.

See Corporate R&D and UNI Trademark Licensing Program details for information.

UNI Technology Transfer and Commercialization Process

The technology transfer and commercialization process at UNI is summarized in a flow chart.

Flow Chart (PDF)


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