About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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November 9, 2009

So, Do I Own This, Or What? Answer: What

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Posted by Derek

The latest issue of Nature Medicine has several short articles on patent issues, and is well worth a look if that's your sort of thing. I enjoyed this from the issue's lead editorial:

"An informal poll we conducted while preparing the focus on patents appearing in this issue (pp 1239–1243) disclosed that about two-thirds of scientists, particularly in Europe, don't know who owns the intellectual rights to the discoveries made in their labs. A similarly high proportion don't know if there are any provisions in their job contracts assigning them any rights over their discovery. And roughly half don't even know whether they are legally entitled to open a company based on their research."

As the piece goes on to explain, these turn out not to be particularly hard questions to answer. They are, in fact, answered in just the way you think they are, which makes me wonder a bit about the people who don't know these things. Let's see, even though you're not a lawyer, and don't know much about these things, and you're signing an agreement with a large entity that's very interested in this subject and can afford to pay for good legal advice about it. . .hmm, I wonder who could possibly have the advantage here?

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Patents and IP


1. startup on November 9, 2009 1:04 PM writes...

This meshes well with your recent post about people not using patents as a source for information - obviously anyone with a bit of common sense who looked at the first page of a patent a couple of times, or searched a patent database would know these things.

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2. Hap on November 9, 2009 1:40 PM writes...

The title is great.

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3. gyges on November 9, 2009 2:23 PM writes...

You may be interested in, Kelly & Anor v GE Healthcare Ltd [2009] EWHC 181 (Pat).

In short, inventor working for GE Healthcare invents a patent. GE make lots of money out of it. Employee inventor claims compensation

iv) A fair share for the employees is £1 million for Dr Kelly and £500,000 for Dr Chiu.

Pitifully small amounts but at least it's something.

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4. Ed on November 9, 2009 2:33 PM writes...

It's a little known peculiarity of English law that inventors are entitled to seek additional compensation for their inventions that create significant value for the owners of that IP.

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