Failure to launch

4 mistakes that inventors should avoid

You’ve just come up with a new idea that could change the world, and naturally, you want to tell everyone you know.

But is that wise?

Actually, no, according to the Tech Transfer team at the University of Cincinnati.

“It’s important that inventors take steps to safeguard their ideas before sharing them,” said Geoffrey Pinski, UC assistant vice president for technology transfer. “Otherwise, they are at risk of their discovery being passed off and reproduced by someone else.”

What you need to know

  • Innovation fuels advancements in technology, the arts, medicine and society worldwide, often outside of a corporate research and development laboratories. The resulting ideas are considered intellectual property (IP) and must be protected.
  • Disclosure is a critical early first step. If you’re a faculty or staff member at UC, you should complete the university’s disclosure form outlining the name(s) of the inventors, the action steps applied and any external funding used in the development. Submitting this form early on is essential, as failure to initiate the tech transfer process could leave you open to infringement.

Errors to avoid when launching your new idea

1.       Failure to perform due diligence

Due diligence helps ensure the idea you’re seeking to protect is not already held by someone else. It also helps you assess the market value of your invention.

2.       Failure to file for patent protection

Patents safeguard your invention, giving you — or the company that licenses your IP — the exclusive right to market your idea.

3.       Failure to establish clear licensing agreements

As an inventor, you likely will need to partner with investors or large companies that can financially develop and bring your discovery to the public. Legal documents help ensure a third party does not use your IP without authorization or payment.

4.       Failure to connect with licensing experts

“We advise inventors to seek out someone widely experienced in transferring technologies across a broad array of fields, including the physical sciences, life sciences and information technology,” Pinski said. UC’s Technology Transfer team serves as a one-stop shop for faculty and staff, protecting them against infringers by guiding them through each step of the tech transfer process.  

For additional questions, contact the Tech Transfer team at

Next Lives Here

The University of Cincinnati is classified as a Research 1 institution by the Carnegie Commission and is ranked in the National Science Foundation's Top-35 public research universities. UC's medical, graduate and undergraduate students and faculty investigate problems and innovate solutions with real-world impact. Next Lives Here.

Related Stories


UC’s $10.6 billion impact

May 9, 2023

The University of Cincinnati delivers a significant economic boost to the region and state of Ohio thanks to alumni impact, operations and research spending, student demand for goods and services, launch of startup companies and more.


UC celebrates Digital Futures grand opening

September 23, 2022

The University of Cincinnati celebrated the grand opening of its Digital Futures building, a facility for interdisciplinary research, on Friday in the Cincinnati Innovation District.