About Us

The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Technology Transfer Program enforces our commitment to advancing pediatric medicine. The Office of Innovation and Technology Transfer is responsible for managing our intellectual property portfolio including evaluating new technologies, securing intellectual property (IP) protection, marketing and licensing.

We support efforts to accelerate the translation of innovations from the lab to the clinic, and serve as a resource for the Children’s community on IP and technology commercialization issues. We also work closely with our research partners to promote innovation, secure IP protection and commercialize technologies.

Frequently asked questions

What if I have collaborators at another organization? What about working with Emory or Georgia Tech?

Generally, collaboration with individuals outside of Children’s will result in joint ownership of IP that is developed. The affiliation of any contributors to IP should be included on the IP disclosure form. Agreements that may exist related to such collaboration will be reviewed for any IP specific terms.

Children’s has master IP agreements in place with Emory and Georgia Tech that set forth how IP developed as a result of our collaborations is owned and managed.

If you have specific questions, email Kiki.Reames@choa.org or call 404-785-5172.

How does publication or other public disclosure affect the ability to obtain patent protection?

One of the requirements to be eligible for patent protection is novelty. The claimed invention cannot already be disclosed in the prior art (patents/publications, prior public uses or offers to sell).

In the U.S., the inventor has a one year grace period from his own, first, enabling, public disclosure to file for patent protection. After one year, there is a statutory patent bar. In much of the rest of the world, there is an absolute novelty requirement, and any enabling, public disclosure prior to filing a patent application will result in a patent bar.

A public disclosure is any nonconfidential disclosure of an invention. To be enabling a public disclosure must disclose the invention in sufficient detail such that someone with “ordinary skill in the art” would understand and be able to practice the invention.

This novelty requirement is why it is important to discuss any potentially valuable IP with the Office of Innovation and Technology Transfer before disclosing it, and to alert us to any impending public disclosures when submitting an IP disclosure form.

If you have any questions as to whether a prior or planned disclosure is enabling or public, email Kiki.Reames@choa.org or call 404-785-5172.

What is a patent?

A patent is the grant of a property right for an invention. A patent confers to the owner the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention in or importing the invention into the U.S. It is important to note that a patent does not grant an affirmative right to practice the invention claimed. In general, the term of a patent is 20 years from the application filing date. There are three types of patents: utility, design and plant.

A utility patent is for a new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture or composition of matter. A design patent is for an original, ornamental design for an article of manufacture. A plant patent is for a new variety of plant.

In order for an invention to be patentable, it must be novel, nonobvious and useful. Inventions directed to abstract ideas, natural phenomena and laws of nature cannot not be patented.

What is a provisional patent application?

A provisional patent application establishes an official U.S. patent application filing date for the invention, and does not require some of the formal elements of a utility (non-provisional) application such as formal patent claims or drawings. To be accorded a filing date a provisional application must have a complete written description complying with all United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requirements.

A provisional patent application is not examined by the USPTO, and it expires 12 months after filing. In order to benefit from the earlier filing date of the provisional application, a corresponding utility patent application must be filed before the provisional application expires.

Filing a provisional patent application can be an effective means to obtain a priority filing date with the USPTO quickly and inexpensively. It permits the term "patent pending" to be used in connection with the invention. Provisional patent applications are often used to protect an invention when there is insufficient time before a public disclosure to assess the technology, or when additional time to generate data is needed.

What is intellectual property (IP)?

Intellectual property (IP) is any intellectual effort that can be protected from unauthorized use under the law. IP includes inventions, copyrightable works, trademarks, service marks, domain names, trade secrets, formulas, designs, software, programming code, digital or electronic media, intangible rights in machines, compositions of matter and devices, techniques, processes, procedures, systems or formulations.

What is the role of the Office of Innovation and Technology Transfer?

The Office of Innovation and Technology Transfer is responsible for managing all IP developed by Children’s. We evaluate the System’s innovations and develop suitable protection and licensing strategies for them. We support our researchers and clinicians in the advancement of innovations from the lab to the clinic and serve as a resource on IP and technology commercialization issues.

What is the technology transfer process?

Below are the steps in the technology transfer process. Although this graphic depicts a linear progression, these steps often occur in parallel. To be successful, technology transfer requires a collaborative effort between the Office of Innovation and Technology Transfer and contributors to assess the innovation and its potential applications, and to identify the most appropriate commercialization strategy. 

Learn more about each step of the technology transfer process

When and how do I disclose IP?

You should submit an IP disclosure form (either the invention disclosure form or the software/copyright disclosure form as appropriate) when you believe that you have an innovation with potential commercial value. You should do this before you make a public disclosure, including in publications, poster sessions, seminars, conferences or other nonconfidential communications or public use. Public disclosure may have an impact on the ability to pursue patent protection.

Download Children's IP disclosure forms

If you are not sure if you have something to disclose and would like to discuss it with us first, or if you have any questions regarding the IP disclosure forms, email Kiki.Reames@choa.org or call 404-785-5172.

Why should I disclose an innovation and participate in technology transfer?

The Children’s intellectual property policy requires Children’s personnel to promptly disclose the existence of any IP. This is important to ensure we are meeting the obligations of sponsored research agreements or other collaborative agreements that relate to the IP. It also makes sure that we are complying with any applicable laws and regulations.

Additionally, you may choose to participate in technology transfer and commercialization to advance pediatric medicine for the benefit of society, to attract external research funding, or to enhance Children’s institutional reputation as a leader in pediatric healthcare innovation. The commercialization of IP may result in licensing revenue paid to Children’s, which may be reinvested in research and development efforts and is shared with you, the inventor, as provided for in the Children’s IP policy.

What is a copyright?

Copyright is an IP right that protects original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression, published or unpublished. Copyright protects literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, computer software and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, inventions or discoveries; although it may protect the way they are expressed.

Copyright protection attaches to a work as soon as it is created and fixed in a tangible medium. Copyrights do not have to be registered although a registered copyright provides certain benefits related to infringement.

Who owns the IP I create?

As a general rule Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta owns all IP that is related to Children’s personnel’s normal duties (including clinical duties), course of studies, field of research or scholarly expertise, or is created or discovered with the use of Children’s resources, including monies from internal or external sources, facilities, space, equipment, services or personnel (referred to as support).

The employment status of the contributors, use of Children’s support, the terms of a sponsored research agreement, materials transfer agreement, or other agreement may have bearing on the ownership of IP. There are certain academic or scholarly copyrightable works in which Children’s may not assert ownership.

The Children’s IP policy applies to Children’s personnel who may receive Children’s support, visitors with research duties at Children’s or others who receive Children’s Support, and students. Nonemployees will own the IP they create except where such IP is (1) work-for-hire; (2) supported by Children’s support; (3) commissioned by Children’s; (4) made with significant use of Children’s support or Children’s personnel; or (5) subject to contractual obligations.

Read the Children's IP policy

If you have any questions about the ownership status of IP you’ve developed, email Kiki.Reames@choa.org or call 404-785-5172.

For Inventors


Children’s personnel should complete one of the following forms:

Emory faculty should complete the following form:

Research-related policies

Research Partners

The Office of Innovation and Technology Transfer works with our neighboring academic and scientific institutions to answer to the most difficult childhood medical conditions through research. Children’s has master intellectual property agreements in place with Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. These agreements set forth how the IP that is developed as a result of our collaborations is owned and managed. For more information about these agreements, or if you have intellectual property questions related to collaborations with Emory or Georgia Tech, contact the Innovation and Technology Transfer Office at 404-785-5172.

Additional Resources

Patent searches

Technology transfer information

Intellectual property information

Pediatric research and technology development