About INVO

INVO’s Mission

INVO catalyzes the translation of Northwestern innovations to benefit the public and promote economic growth.


INVO's Priorities

  • Help integrate the educational and research mission with the University’s social contract to contribute to economic growth and move research innovations to the market
  • Develop a holistic, transparent, interactive process to translate innovative research through proof-of-concept to commercialization
  • Support an entrepreneurial culture by encouraging relevant initiatives across the University
  • Secure intellectual property rights to seed and nurture innovative products and services
  • Work creatively with external organizations (profit and non-profit) to develop and commercialize  Northwestern’s innovations
  • Facilitate the formation and launch of Northwestern’s startups
  • Modernize systems to increase transactional speed and efficiency

Important Principles on How INVO Negotiates Licenses

INVO’s most important goal is to ensure that Northwestern innovations are developed to maximize society’s use and benefit and promote economic growth.

In order to maximize that outcome, Northwestern forcefully endorses both the Statement to the AAU Membership on University Technology Transfer and Managing Intellectual Property in the Public Interest (March, 2015) and In the Public Interest: Nine Points to Consider in Licensing University Technology (March, 2007).


1.  Diligence Milestones

Whenever an exclusive license is necessary for commercialization, Northwestern requires licensees to commit to the development of the technology. Typically, Northwestern and the licensee will need to agree to performance milestones that promote early go/no-go decisions and achievement of commercial objectives.

2.  Use for non-commercial research purposes

As an academic institution, it is our responsibility to generate knowledge, both to our students and the wider society. In order to ensure that academic research continues to advance in the field, Northwestern retains rights to its licensed technologies for research and education purposes.

3.  Academic Freedom

Northwestern's academic freedom, scientific integrity, pursuit of knowledge and open exchange of ideas and information are protected. We are particularly watchful for any restriction that could limit the right of faculty to publish or present the results of research.

4.  Technology Development and Commercialization

Northwestern discourages the creation of startups designed to sublicense the technologies without first advancing the development. This model often results in overall inefficiencies, higher product development costs, and higher costs to society. Our licenses build incentives to minimize this practice.

5.  Intent to Commercialize

Northwestern will work with all potential licensees seriously interested in commercializing Northwestern technologies. Northwestern will not work with potential licensees who want to acquire IP rights with no real intention of commercializing the technologies and instead rely solely on threats of infringement litigation to generate revenue.

6.  Priority to Startups

Northwestern believes that startups play an important role in developing a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. Startups have a profound impact in the region and the US economy, and are the lifeblood of America’s global dominance in innovation. In addition, most of the technologies emerging from the University are very early stage and disruptive and are better developed in startup environments.