Intellectual Property Rights in Plant Research

Categories: guest blogger
Comments: No Comments
Published on: January 15, 2013
A protein, a method, a plant line or variety, or many other products of plant research, may be your intellectual property and can be protected.

Frances Salisbury is a Patent Attorney at Mewburn Ellis LLP. She has a PhD from University of Edinburgh, where she researched the role of phytochrome photoreceptors in root development in Arabidopsis thaliana. She agreed to guest post on intellectual property rights in plant science – enjoy! 

Patents and other intellectual property rights can be a controversial topic in the area of plant research, and much confusion exists about what protection is available, whether such work should be protected, and how this impacts on academic research. In this article, I hope to provide a very brief introduction to some of the different intellectual property rights that are available for plant research, particularly thinking about aspects that might be protectable by a patent.

So, why would you want to protect your plant research?  Essentially, licensing and selling intellectual property rights can be used to create revenue for future research, or might be exchanged for the right to use other people’s ideas and technologies in your research. Many organisations and researchers consider intellectual property rights to be valuable assets.

Certainly, if you are thinking of working with a commercial partner, or sharing information or expertise with them, it is worth thinking about whether you should have protection in place before you talk to them, to try to ensure that both sides will benefit from the collaboration. Your institute’s technology transfer team will be able to help you with assessing whether you could protect your work with an intellectual property right.

Researchers often favour publishing over patenting, but there is no reason why the two cannot be done together, without delaying publication. If you think you have something that might be patentable, I would suggest approaching your technology transfer team to talk it through at an early stage, and particularly if you are preparing a manuscript. Patent attorneys are used to working with research scientists to draft and file patent applications before any disclosure of the work (which may be detrimental to the patent process), but without delaying manuscript submission or preventing conference presentations or posters, so you should not assume that patenting your idea will hinder publication. Indeed, many patent attorneys have once been research scientists themselves, so are well aware of the desire to publish without hindrance.

What might you protect? Well, a number of different types of intellectual property right are available to plant scientists, depending on what it is that is to be protected. (more…)

page 1 of 1

Follow Me
January 2013

Welcome , today is Friday, May 7, 2021