Saturday, January 12, 2013

Protecting Innovations

I recently wrote a piece for Signals Blog on how awareness of intellectual property protection is essential.  It describes some of the problems I've seen with people in science not being trained to be "IP aware".
Many examples indicate that such [people], arguably the next generation of innovators, aren’t being taught to consider the wider implications of what they are studying, outside of academic applications.
An example I cited in the article describes a whole class of PhD students, none of which was aware of essential terms used to discuss patentability of inventions. 
Even if they were all ex-patent agents, it would be difficult to do much with a patented invention without knowing what to do with it.
Fast forward to 2020 and imagine that you’re an IP-savvy postdoc or researcher and have patented a new invention: companies generally won’t bang on your door to use it. There are huge costs in making your patent work, such as identifying potential buyers or users of the IP and establishing the value and terms for licensing agreements.
This can whittle away at the economics of your invention until no options are good enough to pursue.
Thankfully, there are a couple of options for scientists with patents, which I describe in the article.