Invention, Idea or Concept

Three things to do when you have your next big invention, idea or concept:

  • Spend some time doing online research to see if your idea is novel. 25% of all “new” ideas have been invented before. Remember, over one million patent applications are filed each year!
  • If you intend to commercialise your idea, do not publish or disclose your new invention to anybody without firstly considering the IP implications. Public disclosure destroys the novelty of your new invention, meaning that it is impossible to patent and protect.
  • Talk to DIT Hothouse.

Talk to a member of the DIT Hothouse team

DIT encourages colleagues and students to publish their research in peer- reviewed journals wherever possible. However, colleagues and students should consider the commercial potential of their research results and scholarly works. Where intellectual property is thought to exist, colleagues and students should engage with one of the DIT Hothouse team who can advise on protecting the research appropriately before publishing.

Written description of invention

In order for DIT Hothouse to fully evaluate your new invention, it is important that we firstly capture a number of points:

  • brief summary of the invention,
  • why it is more advantageous than what is currently on the market,
  • if a patent search has been carried out by you to determine its novelty ,
  • who the inventor(s) are and their contribution,
  • at what stage of development is the invention (idea, prototype, field tested),
  • funding received from any state bodies to develop the idea.

These and more detailed questions are contained in the DIT Invention Disclosure Form. The IDF is the first step in the DIT Hothouse process of identifying intellectual property and determining how to proceed with it. It should be submitted to DIT Hothouse when something new and useful has been invented. Completed IDFs are important legal documents in that they record what has been invented as well as the circumstances under which the invention was made. Submitted IDFs are treated as confidential until a patent application has been filed or the invention is publicly disclosed. IDFs should be completed with as much detail as possible, with each of the inventors signing the form.

IP assigned to DIT

Unlike most other third level institutes, DIT does not claim ownership of work carried out by DIT inventors in the course of their work. Rather, the creator (staff or students) owns all legal rights to the IP () except where:

  • contracts exist with sponsors requiring IP assignment to DIT,
  • DIT resources were used in the creation of the IP, or
  • administrative materials were developed for DIT.

In these cases, and where the inventor wants DIT to commercialise their invention on their behalf, the IP must be formally assigned to DIT.

This assignment can be carried out simply by getting each inventor to separately complete an DIT Hothouse Assignment Agreement. Please ensure two copies of the form are fully completed, signed and witnessed and return two copies to DIT Hothouse. Both copies will be counter-signed by DIT Hothouse and one copy returned to the inventor.

Both an IDF and an IP Assignment Agreement form should be completed in all cases where something new and useful has been invented. 

Commercialisation Strategy

Once the IDF and IP Assignment Agreement have been received and reviewed, the DIT Hothouse team, in agreement with the inventor(s) will put in place the most appropriate commercialization strategy, comprising:

  • IP strategy
  • Product strategy
  • Funding strategy
  • Marketing strategy

Potential Industry Partner

When your invention is at an appropriate stage to be placed on the market, DIT Hothouse, in agreement with the inventor(s) will approach a number of potential industry partners. These industry partners can:

  • provide direction and market validation for your invention;
  • come on board as an industry collaborator, possibly funding further development costs;
  • seek access to the IP (through licensing) to incorporate it into their current product offering; or
  • seek access to the IP (through licensing) to launch a new product.


Should you (and your fellow inventors) wish to start a company based on the IP, DIT Hothouse will help you set up a new business based on your invention, idea or concept. DIT Hothouse offers support, advice and mentoring to help you and your new business become successful and grow rapidly. The team has considerable experience in starting and running businesses, from small university-based start-ups to working for some of the largest multi-nationals in the world.

Royalties Generated

According to DIT IP Policy, up to 75% of net revenues received from commercialisation are returned to the inventor.