intellectual property (IP) (close)
Creative ideas and expressions of the human mind that have commercial value and are entitled to the legal protection of a property right. The major legal mechanisms for protecting intellectual property are copyrights, patents, and trademarks. IP rights enable owners to select who may access and use their intellectual property and to protect it from unauthorized use.
The creation of a new technical idea and of the physical embodiment of the idea or the means to accomplish it. To be patentable, an invention must be novel, must have utility, and would not have been obvious to those possessing ordinary skill in the particular art of the invention.
patent (U.S.) (close)
A grant by the federal government to an inventor of the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling his or her invention. There are three kinds of patents in the United States: a standard utility patent on the functional aspects of products and processes; a design patent on the ornamental design of useful objects; and a plant patent on a new variety of a living plant. Patents do not protect ideas, only structures and methods that apply technological concepts. Each type of patent confers the right to exclude others from a precisely defined scope of technology, industrial design, or plant variety. In return for the right to exclude, an inventor must fully disclose the details of the invention to the public so that others can understand it and use it to further develop the technology. Once the patent expires, the public is entitled to make and use the invention and is entitled to a full and complete disclosure of how to do so.
Your source for expert commentary on IP management issues.
Autm. 2007. Weed-Control Additive (or Adjuvant): North Dakota State University. In Executive Guide to Intellectual Property Management in Health and Agricultural Innovation: A Handbook of Best Practices (eds. A Krattiger, RT Mahoney, L Nelsen, et al.). MIHR: Oxford, U.K., and PIPRA: Davis, U.S.A. Available online at www.ipHandbook.org.
Editors’ Note: We are most grateful to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) for having allowed us to adapt this case study for inclusion in this Executive Guide. The original was published by AUTM. 2006. Technology Transfer Works: 100 Cases from Research to Realization (Reports from the Field). Association of University Technology Managers, Northbrook, IL. www.betterworldproject.net.
© 2007. Autm.Sharing the Art of IP Management: Photocopying and distribution through the Internet for noncommercial purposes is permitted and encouraged.
Weed-Control Additive (or Adjuvant): North Dakota State University
Farmers can have all the weed control for half the price, thanks to Quad 7™, an additive that increases the pH of spray solutions in order to increase solubility and efficacy of certain herbicides, especially those used on corn, soybean, and sugarbeet crops. That means farmers can use less herbicide still achieve the same weed-free crop results—a feat that cuts weed-control expenditures in half and releases far fewer chemicals into the environment.
Quad 7™ is the culmination of 36 years of agronomy research, led by John Nalewaja, Ph.D., at North Dakota State University. Nalewaja’s specialty was weed control, and he became interested in the use of additives, or adjuvants, designed to increase the effectiveness of existing herbicides. Because herbicides must stick to weeds in order to kill them, previous methods of enhancing sticking included mixing petroleum-based oils with herbicides. One of Nalewaja’s first discoveries was that oils from the seeds of plants, such as flax and sunflower, were superior to petroleum oils when mixed with certain herbicides. He then discovered that methylated seed oils performed even better.
The patented invention on which the product Quad 7™ is based, however, does not require the use of any oils. A nonionic surfactant, such as an alcohol, keeps the herbicide on weeds; and adjusting the pH of the herbicide spray to be more basic, or alkaline, increases its solubility so that it is chemically more effective. An additional benefit of the alkaline pH is that the herbicide does not precipitate out of solution, a particular problem when using a nozzle to produce a fine spray. The patent, issued in 1997, was exclusively licensed to AGSCO, which introduced Quad 7™ into the marketplace in the spring of 1998.