Inventor Involvement

After a technology is licensed to a startup, inventors may stay involved in a number of ways, including as consultants, advisors or officers. Ohio State has established policies to help guide inventors avoid conflicts of interests.

Role of the Inventor 

Ohio State inventors often serve as technology consultants, advisors or in some other technical developmental capacity. In many cases, the startup investors and management team identify the best role for an inventor, based on the inventor’s expertise and interests. As the company matures and additional investment is required, the inventor’s role may change. Faculty involvement with a licensee (startup or established company) will generally require a conflict of interest review before a license can be approved.  

If the university employee is approved to hold equity in the new company, the inventor’s equity ownership is determined by an agreement between the inventor and the new startup. University employees who wish to negotiate an equity position with the new company should seek independent legal representation.  

Managing inventor conflicts 

In an effort to avoid conflicts, Ohio State has several policies governing the terms and conditions of faculty employment, academic affairs and research activities.  

Inventors should review the policies and discuss with the Office of University Compliance and Integrity prior to company formation. If it is determined that a conflict of interest exists, then a formal Conflict Management Plan (CMP) is created by The Ohio State University Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee (COIAC) to manage, reduce, or eliminate the conflict.  All Conflict Management Plans are reviewed, approved, and monitored pursuant to university policy.