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Douglas C. Hopkins, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor

Quick Start to a Business

Information on this site from the personal files of Dr. Hopkins should NOT be considered legally accurate.

You have expressed an interest in starting a business around your Senior Design Project. There are a few limitations to consider, but the experiences gained in pursuing this avenue will make any extra time spent well worth the effort. There are many resources available to you on and off campus. A few are listed below and more will be added in time.

DO NOT DISCLOSE YOUR IDEA EARLY. Once your idea has been "publicly disclosed" it is available for all to use internationally. In the past the United States would allow up to one year after disclosure to file a US patent application. My suggestion is to TELL NO ONE. Since you must discuss your idea with others, they should sign a "Non-Disclosure" agreement prior to discussions. There are many available. Here is Dr. Hopkins' "Non-Disclosure Agreement" as an example.

The "University at Buffalo Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR)" promotes the development and transfer of technology, innovations and expertise from the university to the marketplace, spurring the establishment and growth of new business enterprises. The office website has many good links to help you learn the basics. You may want to also consider having the University as a development partner since the University wants to assist new businesses.

Visit the STOR site and follow two important links:

  • Disclosing and Patenting Your Research and
  • Starting a Business
  • The "Disclosing and Patenting Your Research" link will lead you to the following three topics that you should read:

  • UB Inventor Guide
  • Patenting Process, and
  • Policies, Forms and Agreements. Take particular note to the University's policy in sharing patent royalties. ("Revised Royalty Distribution Policy (pdf).")
  • The "Starting a Business" link will lead you to the "Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership" site in the School of Management. From there, you can access a great resource for other Entrepreneurial Links.

    CAPTURE YOUR IDEA IMMEDIATELY by using the University's "Disclosure Form (pdf)." You do not need to turn it into the University, however, you now know what information is needed and have a record.

    If you are interested in business proposals, try Business & Financial Planning Freeware." There are also resources through the "Entrepreneurial Links."

    There is more to follow as EE402 develops. 15 Sept 2003