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Your source for expert commentary on IP management issues.
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Editor-in-Chief,   Anatole Krattiger

Editorial Board

Concept Foundation


Fiocruz, Brazil

bioDevelopments-   Institute

Patents and Patenting: Balancing Protection with the Public Domain
Topic Guide for Research Scientists

Why This Topic Is Important

This section provides valuable guidance on how, when, and where—and whether—to file for intellectual property protection for the best chance of success in developing that technology for real world applications.

Key Implications and Best Practices: Section 10

  • Published information, or research tools provided by a colleague, may be covered by IP rights. In the life sciences, the web of patents extends far and wide. This should neither deter nor distract you from good science. An awareness of basic IP management best practices will minimize possible future problems.
  • You can intentionally make your inventions and the associated technologies accessible to everyone by publishing results instead of patenting them. Publishing results, however, does not guarantee full public access. Patents can still encroach upon the technical content of the work. Speak to your technology transfer manager about publications, and ask him or her to help with performing the necessary steps for turning your publication into a readily identifiable disclosure of patentable technology.
  • If public disclosure is your goal as a way of preventing others from patenting a particular invention, it may be valuable to consider posting online or in searchable databases, with a valid date stamp, a longer working-paper version, supporting materials, or appendices. For this purpose, consider using dedicated services, such as a university technical disclosure bulletin or a centralized registry of unpublished papers, with official date stamps posted on faculty Web sites for online searches.
  • If patenting and public disclosure are your goals, first consult with your institution’s technology transfer manager prior to disclosure. Your institution should have an effective mechanism in place to determine whether or not a patent should be filed without significantly delaying publication. But be aware that premature publication can lead to a loss of IP rights.
  • Your institution’s technology transfer managers will need your input in order to make strategic decisions about where to pursue foreign patent applications. You likely know where competitors are located and where products arising from your research are needed.
  • One of the services of PIPRA is to advise researchers in the plant sciences about which research is in the public domain and which is available for licensing on reasonable terms. If you are engaged in the development of biotechnology crops, you may find PIPRA’s Web site and services useful.
  • Good laboratory practices and comprehensive laboratory notebooks can ensure that your research is suitable for subsequent regulatory filings. This can reduce costs and time to market.

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Show AbstractAbstract Protecting New Plant Varieties through PVP: Practical Suggestions from a Plant Breeder for Plant Breeders
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