Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are any inventions I come up with mine or do they belong to Georgia Tech?

Participation in the InVenture Prize competition does not require students to assign their intellectual property rights to the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC). Provided that conception and/or reduction to practice of the invention did not result from work performed under a sponsored research agreement, significant use of Georgia Tech resources, or duties assigned to you as an employee of the Institute, your submission should be deemed as an Individual Effort under the Institute’s Intellectual Property Policy.

It is also important for you to be mindful of intellectual property rights of any former or current employer if you conceived and/or reduced to practice your invention while an intern, co-op, or employee of a company.

Should you have any questions regarding any potential rights of GTRC and/or your employer, you are strongly encouraged to contact prior to submitting your invention to the InVenture Prize competition.

Can a graduate student compete either individually or as part of a team with undergraduates?

No. The competition is only open to current Georgia Tech undergraduates working towards their first undergraduate degree and recent BS graduates. You are eligible to compete if you will either be a student in fall or spring of the current academic year or if you graduated in the previous fall, spring or summer. In any case, the invention must have been conceived while you were an undergraduate in order to compete.

Can I do anything I wish with the cash prize?

Yes, but we strongly encourage you to invest it in your invention!

Can I enter with multiple inventions?

No. Only one invention per student is allowed, regardless of team or individual status.

Can we attend InVenture Prize meetings and sessions even though we did not sign up or we end up not competing?

Yes.  All sessions and meetings are open to any Georgia Tech students regardless of if you sign up, register or compete.  

Do all of our team members need to be present at the preliminary round?

No, not all team members are required to attend the preliminary round. However, it is strongly encouraged that all team members attend in order to effectively present to judges, have a greater presence and show commitment. 

Do I have to have a working prototype to compete?

No, you do not have to have a working prototype or a prototype at all. Obviously it helps the judges and the organizers if you can demonstrate a prototype, but you can always explain your concept to the judges without a fully functioning prototype.

Do I have to wait until I register to work on my invention?

No, start working early and often!

Does showing my invention to the cameramen for the InVenture Prize constitute public disclosure for patent rights?

No. Neither the cameramen nor the producers are "skilled in the art" of engineering, science, or computing, and thus showing them does not constitute public disclosure.

How will the InVenture Prize competition be judged?

The judging process consists of the preliminary round, the semifinal round, and the final round. Judges in the preliminary round and the three-judge panel in the final round will each have expertise in engineering, science, computing, and/or business. These expert judges will evaluate how well the inventors respond to each of these five criteria, in no particular order: innovation, marketability, market size, inventor passion, and probability of becoming a successful business. More details on judging criteria can be found here.

I came up with an idea while employed as a co-op/intern. Can I submit this invention?

Maybe. The employment agreement that you have with the company, if any, will dictate the disposition of any intellectual property related to your employment. Should you have any questions regarding ownership of your invention, you are strongly encouraged to contact prior to submitting your invention to the InVenture Prize.

I have used some Georgia Tech resources in developing my invention. Can I enter the InVenture Prize?

Yes. Please indicate what resources were utilized so that the disposition of the intellectual property can be determined. Should you have any questions regarding the use of Georgia Tech’s resources, you are strongly encouraged to contact prior to submitting your invention to the InVenture Prize competition. Note that awards made as part of the prototype/proof of concept competition do not qualify.

If I am a co-inventor with others who are not current Georgia Tech undergraduates, can I still compete with the invention?

Yes, if you fully disclose the contributions by all individuals during registration.

If I enter the InVenture Prize and disclose my ideas, are they protected in any way?

Submissions to the InVenture Prize will, in the preliminary round, be judged in front of an audience open only to members of the Georgia Tech community. This does not constitute public disclosure, even if your presentation is enabling. Thus all rights to the intellectual property are retained by the inventors.

If your submission is selected for the final round of the competition, at your discretion, Georgia Tech Research Corporation will assist you in filing a provisional U.S. patent application at no cost to you. This will preserve all rights of the finalists in the final round of the competition, which will be open to the public and media.

If I received substantial input from a professor or another Georgia Tech employee, can I enter the InVenture Prize?

The InVenture Prize organizers, Georgia Tech, and the Georgia Tech Research Corporation want to ensure that the intellectual property rights of others are respected and the contributions of all inventors are recognized. Input from others, however, does not necessarily constitute an inventive contribution.

When you register, please indicate in the Intellectual Property section any professor, Georgia Tech researcher, other employee or anyone else who has contributed to your idea and explain their involvement. Those individuals may be notified of your submission.

Further, if you or a Georgia Tech employee with whom you are collaborating believe that an inventive contribution was made by the employee to your submission, a record of invention should be submitted to GTRC for review under the Institute's Intellectual Property Policy. The submission will be reviewed and, if appropriate, GTRC will favorably entertain a request to release the technology to the inventors. Upon request, and when deemed appropriate, GTRC may request outside patent counsel to assist in a determination of inventorship.

If I was being paid as a undergraduate researcher when I came up with an idea related to my research, can I enter the InVenture Prize?

Yes. The fact that your idea is related to your undergraduate research does not preclude you from participating. When you register, please indicate in the Intellectual Property section that your invention is related to a Georgia Tech research project and describe the involvement of your faculty advisor, if any. Your faculty advisor may be notified of your submission.

If I win the InVenture Prize, do I automatically get a free patent application?

As a part the InVenture Prize, Georgia Tech Research Corporation will engage patent counsel to work with you to review your winning invention for patentability as well as prepare and file an application for a United States Patent, as applicable. Georgia Tech Research Corporation will pay for the associated fees up to $20,000.

If I win the InVenture Prize, what kind of help can I expect?

Winners will have access to free business services such as legal and patent services (including a free patent filing courtesy of the Georgia Tech Office of Technology Licensing), market vetting, opportunities for raising capital, and mentorship by faculty and industry entrepreneurs.

Our invention was developed as part of a project class. How does this affect our ability to enter?

This should not affect your ability to enter the InVenture Prize. Please indicate which class your idea resulted from during registration and the name of the course professor. The InVenture Prize organizers may verify the disposition of the submitted intellectual property with the Georgia Tech Research Corporation.

Should I keep an inventor's notebook?

Yes. The organizers strongly encourage students to keep an inventor's notebook. To this end, one notebook will be provided to each student whose team has completed their Inventor Profile. Please come by the front desk of Clough Commons 205 after completing your Inventor Profile to get your notebook.

An inventor's notebook is a written record of your invention and your progress in developing it. While there are many websites offering guides to the proper keeping of an inventor’s notebook, this Wikipedia entry is particularly well done.

When using your notebook, keep in mind these five simple attributes:

  • Notebooks must be permanently bound with consecutively numbered pages.
  • Use legible and permanent (inked) entries.
  • Use initialed (or signed) and dated entries.
  • Signatures should be witnessed for significant entries.
  • Witnesses need to understand the technology but would not be named as co-inventors.

A patent can be litigated at any time during its life. Twenty to twenty-five years can elapse from the date of the initial concept to the expiration of an issued patent. It is therefore important to maintain your notebooks accordingly.

What if I find a number of patents and similar products while searching my idea?

It’s normal rather than unusual to find patents disclosing ideas that may be similar or at least sound similar to yours. Do not be discouraged by this. It means that you will need to differentiate what you have relative to what is already out there. This may not be as daunting as it may at first seem. Similar comments apply if you discover a similar existing product, web application, etc. There is always room for improvement!

What is the difference between signing up and registering?

Signing up means giving us your email address and answering a few yes/no questions. This will simply allow us to send you information about the competition. It does not obligate you to compete. Registration requires you to describe your idea and provide important background information. It also lets us know that you intend to compete in the preliminary round of the InVenture Prize.

What is the dress codes at the preliminary and semi-final round for student participants?

You and/or your team should wear professional attire OR attire that is reflective of your invention or startup, such as a company/team shirt or all team members wearing lab coats.