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Editor-in-Chief, Anatole Krattiger
The IP Toolbox
Topic Guide for Research Scientists
Why This Topic Is Important
The types of IP protection that are available constitute the fundamental toolbox that can be used to
protect and promote the transfer and development of your inventions. This section provides interpretive
introductions to each of the main types of IP protection that are relevant in agriculture and medicine,
including patents, trademarks, plant variety protections (or plant breeders’ rights), database protections,
and regulatory data exclusivity. Most chapters describe the IP laws in the context of specific countries,
while some provide more general treatments of the legal IP concepts including those developed as
international standards in TRIPS and UPOV.
Key Implications and Best Practices: Section 4
Given that IP management is heavily context specific, these Key Implications and Best Practices are intended as starting points to be adapted to specific needs and circumstances.
- Research endeavors can go much further, in certain circumstances, if appropriate IP protection is sought. If appropriately managed, this is not in conflict with the broad dissemination of research results but encourages that your inventions serve humanity.
- Patents often disclose much more technical and scientific information than do academic publications. Make it a habit of regularly reading up on newly published patent applications or issued patents in your field. You can access this information for free on the Internet (such as on www.uspto.gov).
- Your institution’s good reputation and standing can be used as a valuable trademark or brand. Maintaining the high reputation requires strict adherence to your institution’s policy and best practices.
- Good data management, especially accurate record keeping through comprehensive notebooks, is the foundation for building a portfolio of IP assets. Essentially, best practices in scientific record keeping should be precisely the same as best practices in record keeping for purposes of IP management.
- Conversely, you should always know the origin and possible restrictions of data and information you use, no matter how insignificant they might seem. Make sure you document the source of important data and information in your laboratory notebook. If you have questions, never hesitate to contact your technology transfer office for help or clarifications.
- Particularly if your research is related to product development, the confidentiality of your data may be critical in ensuring global access. Data is a valuable form of intellectual property that can be used to obtain certain price or access terms in licensing negotiations. Whereas, as a researcher in an academic environment you may regard such protection as inappropriate, remember that it is the goals of your research that should drive the IP tools applied to your inventions. If you are engaged in the delivery of products, adjustments in the way your information and know-how are managed may be necessary to speed-up the translation of your research findings into innovative products or services.
- If a given invention cannot be patented in your own country (for example, a biological invention, including gene sequences), the invention may still be patentable in another country. The United States and Canada tend to have the broadest interpretations with respect to the patenting of organisms and biological materials. In pursuing patenting elsewhere, under certain circumstances, your research endeavors may leverage additional investments required to bring the fruits of your research to benefit your country and society at large and may also lead to additional research grants.
How to Read a Biotech Patent
by Carol Nottenburg
Plant Breeders’ Rights: An Introduction
by William H. Lesser
Regulatory Data Protection in Pharmaceuticals and Other Sectors
by Trevor Cook
The Statutory Toolbox: An Introduction
by John Dodds, Anatole Krattiger
The Statutory Toolbox: Plants
by Jay P. Kesan