Technology Transfer

What is Technology Transfer?

Technology Transfer is the process of transferring an invention of a faculty or staff member to a company in the commercial industry with the purpose of further development to bring it to market for sale to the public. Once the product is being sold on the open market, it may generate revenue for the inventor and Winthrop and create jobs as well as stimulate the local/regional economies in South Carolina and North Carolina.

Some goals of Technology Transfer are:

  • to help grow and support entrepreneurial endeavors of faculty and staff researchers/inventors
  • to attract talented and pioneering faculty and staff
  • to disseminate knowledge from academic research to a broader audience
  • to broaden Winthrop’s brand and extend its reputation
  • to revitalize the local economy and make the advantages of the inventions available to the wider public
  • to attract a more expansive base of external research funding

The Office of Grants and Sponsored Research Development (GSRD) assists faculty, staff and students in identifying research with the potential for commercialization and helps them to cultivate strategies for building relationships with industry partners.


Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer

Part 1: Introduction to Technology Transfer

Part 2: Description of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer and its services


Intellectual Property

Winthrop University encourages all members of the campus community:

  • to foster the creation of the highest quality intellectual properties of any type that further the academic mission of the University
  • to foster the dissemination of new knowledge and the maintenance of high academic standards to improve the education provided to students and the service provided to the citizens of the State of South Carolina

Winthrop will provide incentives for University faculty, staff, and students to participate fully in the use and creation of intellectual properties. Strong mutual interests are shared among the University, the faculty, the staff, and the students in the appropriate allocation of the ownership rights associated with such intellectual properties. The rights that belong to the owners of intellectual properties should be optimally allocated to support the mutual interests of the University, faculty, staff, and students.

Each Winthrop employee has the responsibility to protect intellectual property during development and should disclose to appropriate University or College officials the creation of intellectual property by filling out the Intellectual Property Rights Policy Form within 60 days of initiating work. The Dean or Department Chair will report it promptly to the Academic Vice President. The Vice President must then provide within 30 days a written determination of Winthrop’s intent to pursue or to relinquish any rights to the subject intellectual property. In the event Winthrop elects to relinquish its intellectual property rights, the rights will be assigned to the creator. Employees should conduct intellectual property transfer activities consistent with University and College policies and procedures, including those governing conflicts of commitment and conflicts of interest. And they should cooperate with the University in defending and prosecuting patents and in legal actions taken in response to copyright infringement.

Winthrop has an interest in how its name is used and faculty members may not decide whether the University should sponsor a program. Use of the University name for non-sponsored research or creation must be approved in advance of use and in writing by the Office of the President. The creator of intellectual property may appeal any adverse determination concerning the identification, protection, and/or management of intellectual property to the Office of Grants and Sponsored Research Development. These determinations may be appealed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the appropriate college. Further appeals are subject to existing University policy concerning review of administrative decisions.

For more information, go to the Intellectual Property Rights policy on the Policy and Procedure Repository webpage.


Copyright law is a form of protection provided to the creator of an original expression in a work. This work includes literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. Owner of copyright generally has the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phono-records of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.

Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, title, principle, or discovery. Similarly, names, titles, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols, mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, coloring, and listings of contents or ingredients are not subject to copyright. Under copyright law, the author is the owner of copyright unless there is a written agreement by which the author assigns the copyright to another person or entity, such as a publisher. In cases of works made for hire, the employer or commissioning party is considered to be the author.

See the U.S. Copyright Office for more information.


A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor for a term that generally lasts 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions. The right conferred by the patent grant is “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States. Once a patent is issued, the patentee must enforce the patent without aid of the USPTO.

Types of Patents

  1. Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof;
  2. Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and
  3. Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

See the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for more information.


A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or device that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. A servicemark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but not to prevent others from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark.

See the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for more information.