Patenting FAQs

Who pays the costs of patenting an invention?
WARF covers all the costs of patenting an invention. After an invention is licensed, WARF typically asks the licensee to reimburse these expenses.

Who is eligible to disclose an invention to WARF and to use WARF's services?
Any employee or student of the University of Wisconsin–Madison may disclose an invention to WARF. The WiSys Technology Foundation Inc. ( provides patenting and licensing services to the other campuses of the UW System.

When will I receive payments once my WARF technology has been licensed?
The inventors' share of the royalty income is paid out 15 days after the end of the month during which the income was received. Payments are made as a percentage of the gross licensing income returned to WARF, that is, before patent expenses and other costs are deducted.

What if a collaborator from another institution (i.e., other than UW–Madison) has contributed to my invention?
WARF has interinstitutional agreements with many universities, research institutes and other organizations, and could likely negotiate such an agreement with your collaborator's institution. This type of agreement determines which institution would take the lead in patenting and licensing of the invention, as well as how any royalty income would be shared.

If I publish a paper or make a presentation on my technology at a meeting, will my invention still be patentable?
After you publish, present or otherwise publicly disclose your invention, you have one year from your first disclosure date to file a U.S. patent, referred to as an inventor grace period. After one year has passed, you lose all U.S. patent rights. Please note that the America Invents Act significantly weakens the protection the grace period provides regarding prior art. It is best to file a patent before a public disclosure, or as quickly as possible after a public disclosure. Most foreign countries have no grace period; that is, publication (or any form of public disclosure) of your invention immediately bars you from obtaining foreign patent rights.

Does WARF file foreign patents on inventions?
Yes, WARF does file foreign patents on inventions, depending on the availability of foreign patent rights, the level of licensing interest, the overall market size and the potential market share for the technology.