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Editor-in-Chief, Anatole Krattiger
The IP Toolbox
Topic Guide for Senior Administrators
Why This Topic Is Important
The types of IP protection that are available constitute the fundamental toolbox that your institution can
use to protect and promote the transfer and development of 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.
- The implementation of a broad institutional IP policy, consistent with the institution’s mission, can foster the integration of the various forms of IP protection in furtherance of an institution’s mission and goals.
- For public sector institutions, trademarks can be a valuable element in an institutional strategy that aims at fostering a positive image (or brand) and generating value. Because of the broad value of trademarks, they assist institutions in maintaining a good image and brand, thus serving as a tool for senior management in maintaining and enhancing the institution’s reputation, standing, and value.
- Scientists can gain a lot from regularly reviewing newly issued patents from around the world. Patents often disclose much more than scientific publications but are generally overlooked as valuable sources of scientific and technical know-how. Such an information-gathering approach requires appropriate staff training and the availability of good Internet connections, which make it possible for patents to be downloaded. All patent office Web sites provide patents free of charge as does the Worldwide Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
- A sound patenting strategy is an extremely useful tool to bring inventions to fruition that make an impact on economic development and meeting public sector goals.
- Although many public sector institutions have for years provided their improved germplasm free of charge or at nominal costs to breeders and farmers, the protection of improved varieties can be a critical tool in furthering broad access and simultaneously meeting commercial and humanitarian objectives through appropriate “market segmentation.”
- In many countries, but not in the United States, patent law includes a broad research exemption. This should not be confused with possible restrictions on materials obtained through material transfer agreements. Although extremely useful, material transfer agreements should be used judiciously, particularly when intellectual property is also embedded in material. This aspect also requires well-trained licensing/technology-transfer personnel and good management systems.
- The delivery of innovation for the greater public good by public sector institutions is not necessarily inconsistent with appropriate patent and other forms of IP protection. Trade secret protection in particular may be a valuable—and cost effective—means of achieving greater accessibility by disadvantaged members or groups of society. Whereas academic institutions in particular may regard such protection as inappropriate, it should be remembered that their mission is gradually shifting and increasingly include the delivery of products. This requires adjustments in the way information and knowhow are managed. In turn, the changes require much internal discussion and sometimes culture change.
- Senior management’s backing of the technology transfer office is important as is its support in the implementation of rigorous IP-related policies and procedures (such as those related to confidentiality).
Data Protection and Data Exclusivity in Pharmaceuticals and Agrochemicals
by Charles Clift
IP and Information Management: Libraries, Databases, Geographic Information Systems, and Software
by John Dodds, Susanne Somersalo, Stanley P. Kowalski, Anatole Krattiger
Plants, Germplasm, Genebanks, and Intellectual Property: Principles, Options, and Management
by John Dodds, Anatole Krattiger, Stanley P. Kowalski
The Statutory Toolbox: An Introduction
by John Dodds, Anatole Krattiger
by William Needle