Simon Fraser University (SFU) is among Canada's fastest growing research-intensive universities in Canada. Our sponsored research income has grown by 86% over the past 10 years, reaching $167.3 million in 2020. This growth—especially with our private sector funding—has led to a commensurate advancement in technical innovations and new intellectual property (IP). SFU ensures that, wherever possible, these developments get out into the world to drive innovation and change.
SFU's Technology Licensing Office (TLO) is a key part of SFU Innovates, the universitiy’s innovation strategy for engaging researchers, staff and students with our communities and partners to solve societal challenges through innovation and entrepreneurship.
The TLO team delivers IP protection and technology licensing services and support. Upon approval by the TLO based on standardized criteria, the TLO will cover all legal fees for IP protection of a new invention and work with the creator to develop a IP licensing revenue stream.
The TLO is an instrumental piece in the SFU Innovates ecosystem, which also includes SFU programs like Coast Capital Venture Connection® at SFU, our flagship program for early-stage ventures, and SFU VentureLabs, our science and technology-based business accelerator.
Invention disclosure – how do I seek IP protection?
You have developed an exciting new novel technology. The next step should be to contact us to know your options regarding IP. You may elect to protect it yourself or you may elect to have the TLO evaluate it and provide the legal protection, cost, and business strategy for the prospective new technology.
Contact the TLO to submit an Invention Disclosure. The TLO team will then review the submission and get back to you with your options.
The TLO team includes lawyers, experts in IP assessment, scientists and science-based marketing professionals. The TLO is intimately connected into the entrepreneurship and innovation culture of SFU and can provide general guidance on spinning out a company, IP protection strategy, funding opportunities and university policies.
The TLO Advantage
When the new novel technology is accepted by the TLO for IP commercialization support, the following types of support are provided:
- IP Strategy: The in-house TLO expertise will conduct a prior-art search, a patentability assessment, and map your technology against potential competitors within the market based on IP landscaping. You will be able to see who else is developing IP within the same technology sector and what types of technologies they are working on.
- Legal IP Protection & Cost: The TLO will work with external legal counsel to protect the new technology via patent and cover all legal costs.
- Market Analysis: The in-house TLO expertise will conduct a market analysis of which companies exist within this technology sector that are trying to commercialize or are currently commercializing similar technology. This insight will be useful for determining value of the IP, licensing rates, and other economic indicators.
- Leveraging Corporate Networks: The combined corporate network of all TLO members (and affiliates of the TLO) will be at your disposal to help get your technology into the right hands of the people who may wish to license your technology.
IP Licensing Model or Startup Company?
When you have this exciting new novel technology, you may contemplate how to best maximize the value it may bring to society both economically and socially.
This may include deciding whether to pursue a IP licensing model or create a startup (e.g., creating a corporation to take the technology to market). Our TLO team will be able to provide guidance, in conjunction with other SFU Innovates entities, on the advantages/disadvantages with these varied approaches.
SFU’s IP policy – “Inventor Owned”
SFU’s IP Policy can be found here Policy R30.03 on Intellectual Property. This is an inventor owned policy which in general terms means that any SFU member who creates IP, owns the IP. The creator then gets to decide how much they wish to engage with the TLO for IP commercialization support.
The revenue sharing models are outlined in our Policy R30.03 on Intellectual Property under Appendix A.
It should be noted that a creator who elects to commercialize their IP must disclose such election in writing, as described in Appendix B, Commercialization Procedures. Disclosures using the Intellectual Property Disclosure Form, Appendix C to the Policy.
Information on other policies pertaining to research at SFU can be reviewed on the Policies and Procedures website.