Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation


You’ve done the hard work. You want your innovative research to make a difference in the world. You’ve come to the right place. WARF navigates the patent process for principal investigators, lending patenting and licensing expertise and covering patent costs, which usually cost tens of thousands of dollars. Then we work with our industry network to try and license your innovative solution to established companies or startups that have the resources required to put your invention to work for public benefit.

If you want to talk directly to someone who can answer your questions about your individual situation, contact Brian Frushour, Intellectual Property Manager, by phone or email.
608-960-9871 |
[email protected]

UW students working in a lab

Let’s get started

1. Tell us about your work.

Estimated time: 10-15 minutes

Submit your Innovation Disclosure. This is a primary document used to initiate the WARF review process. It’ll help us determine patentability and provides some of the technical information we need for drafting a patent application.

You can expect to hear from us in 1-3 business days after submitting your form.

2. Join us for a Disclosure Meeting.

Estimated time: 1 hour

We’ll have an informal, confidential meeting about the details and possible applications of your discovery or invention. We are happy to meet in person, virtually or over the phone.

3. Our decision committee makes a determination.

Estimated time: After your disclosure meeting, you can expect to hear from us after WARF’s internal decision committee meets, which happens once a month.

We try to make decisions quickly so that patenting doesn’t interfere with publication. Our decision is based on factors like patentability, market dynamics, licensing potential, public benefit and whether WARF can add value.

4. Your disclosure will go through an equity review.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education will perform an equity review to identify contracts or funding sources that may have intellectual property obligations.

Learn more about the university’s intellectual property policies and this step.

5. Innovators with accepted inventions will enter into a memorandum agreement with WARF.

This agreement defines the legal relationship with you, the inventor, and WARF. You’ll agree in this document to assign ownership to WARF so we can work in partnership during the invention patenting and licensing process. In return, WARF agrees to share royalty income with you.

6. We’ll apply for the patent.

Estimated time: We often start to apply for a patent within several weeks.

You’ll work with our seasoned intellectual property experts, most of whom are also registered patent agents, and patent attorneys to draft a patent application. We move fast to get the application filed. Once filed, the patent application is examined by the patent office, a process that can take years.