Forming a Startup Company

Forming a startup based on an Ohio State technology

Ohio State researchers disclose about 400 new inventions each year. One path to commercializing these technologies is by licensing it to a newly formed company.

Startups provide essential development flexibility to early-stage technologies needing refinement prior to entering the marketplace. Licensing early-stage technology to a startup presents both great opportunities and great challenges. We have crafted licensing terms in a standard template that provide financial and operating flexibility to provide the best opportunity for success.

Roles in forming a startup

The startup leader, Ohio State and the inventor each have items to consider prior to entering into licensing negotiations. Knowing each party’s roles and responsibilities helps to streamline the negotiation process.

Startup leaders will negotiate the licensing rights and related financial terms with the Ohio State Innovation Foundation – the Ohio State affiliate formed in 2013 to hold, manage and facilitate commercialization of the university’s intellectual property. If the startup company is expected to receive money from the university – for example, if the university might become a customer of the company – the company must register as a University Technology Commercialization Company (UTCC) to help manage any potential conflicts of interest.

Startup leaders negotiate separately with the inventor(s) for any services provided to the startup company (outside of the scope of the inventors’ employment with Ohio State). The university does not provide legal counsel to inventors outside of their role with the university. During this process, startup leaders and inventors should engage in discussions around inventor equity considerations, advisory board seats and consulting agreements.

Company Formation

Ohio State has standard documents available to entrepreneurs for creating a startup company. Independent law firms drafted these templates with a professional, balanced intent. Separate template agreements are available.

Contact Us

Senior Director, Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship

Cheryl Turnbull


Manager, Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship

Kate Schulhaus, PhD


Grants & Contracts Specialist (Accelerator Awards)

Corine St. Gelais


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