Why Patent?

Photo by UW-Madison, University Communications © Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

All University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty members, staff and students should disclose inventions to WARF. For research involving federal funding, federal law requires that inventions also be assigned to WARF, the designated patenting and licensing office for UW–Madison.

The benefits of patenting an invention through WARF

  • Patent costs and legal fees for accepted disclosures are paid by WARF
  • Patents are a method of publication
  • WARF's experienced intellectual property managers guide inventors through the patenting process; their goal is to file the best patent possible while reducing paperwork for researchers
  • WARF's licensing managers have excellent industry contacts and years of experience negotiating contracts that work for both inventors and companies
  • License agreements provide income to the inventors. WARF is one of the few technology transfer offices that share income with inventors based upon gross income received; that is, no deductions are made from the inventors' distribution for WARF office administration or other overhead costs
  • Inventors' departments also benefit from licensed inventions
  • Patenting is a method for translating inventors' work into a product that will benefit society
  • Patent holders have the ability to prevent abuse or misuse of their inventions and research
  • WARF has the resources and the reputation for defending its patents

WARF's Royalty Revenue Sharing Program

Photo by UW-Madison, University Communications © Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

WARF shares the royalty revenue generated by a licensed technology with the technology's inventor(s) or author(s); the inventors' academic departments; and the UW–Madison Graduate School. The following is a general description of how royalties are divided among these entities.

Inventors' Share

The inventors receive 20 percent of the gross royalty revenue generated by a licensed invention. Payments are made to the inventors in the month following the receipt of the royalty payment.

WARF's Annual Gift to UW–Madison

After paying the inventors' share, WARF deducts its operating expenses from its two sources of revenue: royalties on licensed inventions and WARF's endowment. The net income from these sources then is used to fund WARF's annual grant, or gift, to UW–Madison.

WARF's gift to the university is unrestricted, meaning the university can spend as it sees fit. The following is a general description of how different portions of the gift are allocated.

Graduate School Gift

The Graduate School currently distributes a “department share” to inventors' academic departments equaling 15 percent of the gross royalties generated by the licensed technologies. If applicable, department shares are split among multiple inventors’ departments.

After the department shares have been allocated, the remainder of WARF's annual gift is given to the UW–Madison Graduate School. The Graduate School uses this money to support a variety of projects and programs each year, including:

  • Graduate School Research Competition
  • Romnes Early Career Awards
  • Kellett Mid-Career Awards
  • Named professorships
  • Graduate fellowships
  • Campus building projects