The purpose of the initial evaluation is to determine if the provisional application for the technology should be filed or not. Initial evaluation begins immediately after the step of disclosure and should be completed before one month from the disclosure date. Initial evaluation will determine if the technology meets the basic criteria for patentability i.e. novel, non-obvious and utility. The first task in an initial evaluation is to determine if the inventor has already disclosed the technology in any conference or presentation or publication. Due to the patent laws in all countries except the US, the rights to a patent are lost if the technology has been disclosed before a provisional application is filed. In such a case where the technology was disclosed, even though the international patent rights are lost, a provisional application for the US must be filed immediately. In cases where the invention was not disclosed, but the inventor plans to disclose the invention at the conference or meeting, the provisional application must be filed before the conference to protect both US and international patent rights. In cases where the invention was not disclosed and there are no plans to disclose, OTT will follow a standard operating procedure (SOP) to determine if a provisional application should be filed or should the invention be returned back to the inventor.
The decision to file or not file for a provisional is made in response to initial assessments from OTT staff, LIPAC (Lehigh Intellectual Property Advisory Committee; composed of expert Lehigh faculty/staff in related fields), patent attorneys, and external technology assessment companies (Foresight).