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Editor-in-Chief,   Anatole Krattiger

Editorial Board

Concept Foundation


Fiocruz, Brazil

bioDevelopments-   Institute

Inventors and Inventions
Topic Guide for Policymakers

Why This Topic Is Important

This section approaches questions of inventorship and how to document and disclose inventions in order to support applications for intellectual property protection. Familiarity on the part of the policymaker can help inform decisions about IP ownership and the concerns of leading scientists and the administrations of research institutions with such policy changes.

Key Implications and Best Practices: Section 8

  • People and institutions typically look after their possessions in a much more serious manner than if they have no stake in them. This is applicable to physical property and to intellectual property. For this reason, governments should consider enacting legislation or, as appropriate, implementing policies that clearly spell out how public sector institutions can protect, own, and license inventions made in their institutions. This equally applies to government research centers and to universities.
  • Arguably, the minds of scientists operate differently from those of lawyers, politicians, bankers, and policymakers. Similarly, those engaged in managing the intellectual property in public sector institutions face different challenges than the scientist-inventors. These differences can be the source of much tension, but such tension can often be preempted if scientists are given an opportunity to learn the basics of IP management, including best practices, in terms of data and information management related to inventions. Public sector institutions should have the resources to offer limited, but essential, training to every scientist when they join an institution.
  • Such training programs can be given as a series of short seminars or even half-day orientation courses. These are most effective if the institutions have clear IP policies that include matters related to ownership of inventions, the duty to disclose inventions, and laboratory notebook keeping. The latter is common practice in any private sector R&D center. Comprehensive research records are fundamental to best practices in science, IP management, and in the regulatory process.

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