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Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer


Intellectual property (IP) is the individual and collective creative content created by faculty, staff, graduate students, and some undergraduate students at the University of Northern Iowa. Intellectual property consists of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. At UNI, IP has generated $1 million in royalties over the past decade. 

At UNI faculty and staff have an obligation to disclose their research that might have IP potential. Graduate students whose research involves only secondary research resources do not have an obligation to disclose; however, graduate students whose research is primary, involves the creation of a product, process, algorithm, new terminology, etc. must contact the Intellectual Property Office to determine if they need to disclose. Undergraduate students are not obligated to disclose; however, in order to receive guidance and technical assistance, disclosing may be recommended. Undergrads who disclose are eligible to receive help from the University. The full intellectual property policy is available here:  Additionally, these policies may be important to you also: 9.03 Conflict of Interest, 9.54 Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources, 10.08 Distributed Learning and IP Rights We encourage faculty, staff, and students to contact the IP office to discuss your potential intellectual property and if you need to officially disclose to the University. You may contact Paul Kinghorn at or call 319-273-4327. Here is the link to the disclosure form: /sites/default/files/2019_uni_ip_full_disclosure_document.docx

Any UNI program, center, department, or individual, other than Athletics, that has trademark-able words or phrases, visual identities, etc. should contact the office of the University Counsel. The University Counsel keeps a list of all UNI trademarks and makes sure maintenance and renewal fees are paid on time for UNI trademark intellectual property.

UNI programs, centers, departments, or individuals may file for copyrights without the assistance of the Intellectual Property Office at  If you would like assistance, you may contact University Counsel. Information on copyrights from a creator's perspective and from a user's perspective may be found at:

Several people serve UNI by being members of the Intellectual Property Committee. The IPC reviews disclosures from faculty, staff, and students to determine if UNI has any interest in pursuing protection for the potential intellectual property. The members of the IPC are:

  • Paul Kinghorn, Intellectual Property Officer
  • Randy Pilkington, Co-chair, UNI Research Foundation
  • Bart Bergquist, Department of Biology
  • Bill Harwood, Department of Chemistry, Science and Technology Officer 
  • Tolif Hunt, Research & Sponsored Programs
  • Tim Kidd, Department of Physics
  • Tim McKenna, University Council
  • Hillery Oberle, Corporate & Foundation Relations
  • Paul Torre, Department of Communication Studies
  • Stacy Robinson, Advancement Financial Services
  • Jennifer Waldron, Associate Provost

UNI has several technologies available for licensing by individuals, businesses, and industry. Here is a list of technologies available for licensing: /jpec/sites/default/files/unitechavailable_10_2017.pdf

Profiles of Two UNI Inventors

Curt HansonCurtiss Hanson is a professor of analytical chemistry and a prolific faculty researcher. His areas of research include analytical applications of mass spectrometry for biomolecule analysis using Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) and gas phase ion-,olecule chemistry using Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR). These instruments provide research opportunities in classical physical analytical areas for both graduate and undergraduate students. He holds several patents in the areas of mass spectrometry.  These include: 9,564.304 Ion trap mass analyzer apparatus, methods, and systems utilizing one or more multiple potential ion guide (MPIG) electrodes; 9,190,254 Ion trap mass analyzer apparatus, methods, and systems utilizing one or more multiple potential ion guide (MPIG) electrodes; 8,933,397 Ion trap mass analyzer apparatus, methods, and systems utilizing one or more multiple potential ion guide (MPIG) electrodes; 6,657,190 Variable potential ion guide for mass spectrometry; 6,149,881 Pyrolysis methods for increasing limonene production and novel oven to facilitate such method; 6,013,913 Multi-pass reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometer; 5,977,421 Pyrolysis method for increasing limonene production and novel oven to facilitate such method. 


Jerry ThielJerry Thiel is the director of the UNI Metal Casting Center. He has a diverse industrial background and has held management positions in the metal casting and related industries for more than 40 years. His background includes metal casting experience in steel, iron, and non-ferrous alloys. Jerry holds degrees in materials science, manufacturing, and manufacturing process development and has published numerous research papers pertaining to molding and core materials for the foundry industry. He is a co-inventor on several patents and is the sole inventor of Patent 8,815,976 B2 Humic substances-based polymer system. Jerry has received numerous awards from the American Foundry Society.