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Schools Work with a university to develope the invention first

  1. Apr 22, 2005 #1
    I'm in the process of trying to obtain a patent. I have 2 choices:

    1) I could spend my money on a patent attourny and take a shot at a patent with just preliminary ideas and calculations,or

    2) I could work with a university to develope the invention first.

    I'm leaning towards the latter, for maybe the university will have patent attourny's that work for them that they would let me use in a partnership patent.

    I was wondering if anybody has had any experiences of advice about patents. The only stuff I could come up with was stuff that was on the internet, and in a book (in the back of the book Hacking Matter, the author explains how he obtained his patent on an application for quantum dots).

    Paden Roder
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2005 #2


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    With only preliminary ideas, you can likely only get a provisional patent. This is good for a year and buys you time to develop the idea more thoroughly while offering "patent pending" protection status as you prepare the full patent submission. A reputable law firm will give you a first consultation free to go over your idea and decide if it's at a stage that's worth trying to patent. They'll be honest because it's their reputation as well as yours on the line if they send a lot of junk to the patent examiners and the applications get rejected.

    If you choose to work with a university, yes, they have their own patent lawyers. But, the catch is that you then share the invention and any profits on the invention with the university. If you already have contacts at the university, I'd suggest before you start any actual work there, you set up in advance contracts that specify what percentage of the invention and future profits are yours and what belongs to the university. Also, arrange for non-disclosure agreements with whoever you will be working with. You don't want to lose patent rights because they decide to present the data at a scientific conference and reveal everything about the invention. Depending on what your invention idea is, there are ways to set up non-disclosure agreements that will allow the scientists to still present data and progress without revealing the nature of your invention. For example, I might work with a pharmaceutical company to test a new compound. I can't say what the compound is, what it's structure is, or what it's mechanism of action is, but I can say that a proprietary compound from such and such a company was used and they will hopefully allow me to reveal that it acts on a certain receptor or type of cell or whatever, even if I can't reveal how it acts on those.

    Good luck.
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