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UW Faculty and Researchers: How to take the first step in patenting your innovation

Written by Debra Bouchegnies / October 30, 2019

3D illustration of rubber stamp with the text patented. IP law and intellectual property patent concept

Many UW innovators want to protect their inventions with a patent, but they don’t know where to start. At CoMotion, we help the UW community determine the best avenues for commercializing innovations. This includes patentingcopyright or trademark protectionlicensingbecoming a startup, and more. CoMotion is continually looking for better ways to serve innovators and improve processes. In this spirit, we are launching an updated Record of Innovation (ROI) form to better interact with UW innovators and streamline the innovation disclosure process.

Process for patenting

CoMotion provides a range of services to help researchers develop projects and make an impact. These include IP advising, protection and licensing; innovation training; access to funding and partnerships; and startups and incubation support.

Among these services, patent filing is an important tool to bring certain innovations to market. CoMotion supports patenting for UW inventions with a strong intellectual property position and strong market traction. We routinely file provisional patents, especially when there is a discussion with a licensee/investor, or when public disclosure is imminent. Within one year of filing a provisional application, a non-provisional patent filing must be made to continue protection. This involves a significant financial investment and CoMotion aims to support these patent expenses when there is an engaged inventor team and strong potential for the patent to protect a product that will launch in the marketplace.

How to start working with us

If it’s your first time working with us, you can start by requesting a consultation with one of our experienced Innovation Managers who is knowledgeable about your area of research. They will consult with you to determine next steps, discuss paths to achieve your goals, and help you navigate the innovation ecosystem.

If you are already working with CoMotion and are ready to disclose, we have updated our secure online Record of Innovation form to navigate the disclosure process more efficiently. Filling out an ROI helps CoMotion protect IP, commercialize technologies, accelerate impact, and fulfill innovation reporting obligations to funding agencies.

The new process lists previous disclosures associated with your UW NetID when you log in, and takes more categories of innovation into consideration including mechanical devices, materials, novel structures and biological compounds, processes, software, digital media, and copyrighted works. The new form also offers:

  • explanations on how information is used to help you determine how best to answer the questions
  • clarifications on the employment affiliation questions, particularly with the VA, and
  • simplified questions for compliance with U.S. Export Laws & Regulations.


After filing, simply scan and email the signed form to the ROI coordinator, who will then assign a CoMotion Innovation Manager to you. Once we receive the disclosure, the Innovation Manager will contact you to discuss next steps. If you have questions, please submit a Consultation Request before completing the ROI form or contact the ROI Coordinator at

For more information on key things to know about patents, see our January 2019 blog called: 10 Things UW Innovators should know about patents.