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

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
Not Voodoo

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
Realizations in Biostatistics
ChemSpider Blog
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa

Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net

Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine

Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem

Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus

Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« The Coming Battle Over Alzheimer's Disease | Main | Hype, Malpractice, and Scientific Misconduct in Organic Synthesis »

October 31, 2012

Oops. We Didn't Mean to Publish That.

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

Here's an interesting situation, courtesy of Retraction Watch - trying to pull back a paper because it disclosed something that was supposed to be the subject of your patent. Say the authors of the paper in the Korean Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology:

We regret to inform that the published paper included a few parts that disclosed confidential information which should have been protected under patent law. We admit that the request for retraction is due to the indiscretion of the authors, and confirmed that editorial committee of KJPP have not conducted any fault in publishing the paper.

I would think that if you've disclosed, you've disclosed, so this will all come down to timing. Shouldn't matter much whether the paper has been retracted or not. . .

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Patents and IP | The Scientific Literature


1. MTK on October 31, 2012 11:32 AM writes...

Sort of tough to put that genie back in the bottle.

I imagine that the editors required the authors to put that last sentence in.

Permalink to Comment

2. petros on October 31, 2012 12:39 PM writes...

Almost certainly stuffed.

I recollect one patent being lost because someone had disclosed the key part of the (method) invention at a minor meeting. Unfortunately a competitor spotted this and used it to invalidate the patent.

(And that was pre Internet days when it was easy not to pick up such things)

Permalink to Comment

3. a. nonymaus on October 31, 2012 1:15 PM writes...

Given that the full text of the retracted paper is still available, they are certainly hosed. Patent law doesn't, to my knowledge, care if you say "I'm not saying this!" before making a public statement.

Permalink to Comment

4. TeddyZ on October 31, 2012 3:24 PM writes...

Would this be the scientific equivalent of an off-the-record quote?

Permalink to Comment

5. Bruce Hamilton on October 31, 2012 3:44 PM writes...

Perhaps the compound may have been supplied to the researchers with an agreement or understanding about prior notification of results and publication. This could be their response in an attempt to minimise liability to the supplier.

The paper mentions patent applications for the compound family have already been filed, so this may have impacted on future patents.

Permalink to Comment

6. newnickname on October 31, 2012 5:38 PM writes...

Aren't submitted papers considered to be "confidential until published"? If so, what is the publication date? Suppose you submit on Day-1, referee and revise until notified that your paper was "accepted for publication" on Day-90. That's about when you'd want to file your patent application to get the extra three months of patent protection.

If publication is a few days later, you've got time to file; if publication is computerized and automatically out there as "ASAP" or "Early View" you might miss the filing date and you've been disclosed -- and screwed -- prematurely.

Some early views are galleys, before final corrections, so you may not be in control of the public disclosure by holding back your final edits. Still screwed.

[Their dates are: submitted Apr 09; accepted Jun 12; published on-line Aug 10. Looks like plenty of time to file before publication and disclosure.]

I haven't read the whole paper, but looking at their Fig 1, the structure and the name, I can't actually figure out what SKL-NP is supposed to be. The structure isn't a "3-oxo", the name doesn't contain a thiophene, the MW doesn't match ChemDraw's name-to-structure structure. Maybe they are still OK by virtue of chemical ambiguity?

Permalink to Comment

7. overthe on November 1, 2012 9:08 AM writes...

Once in the public domain, always in the public domain. Retracting a publication doesn't change that. In the US, they now have a 102(b) date that gives them 12 months from the publishing date to file an application. If they fail to do so within the 12 months, anything disclosed becomes prior art and will haunt them in any subsequent patent applications.

Permalink to Comment

8. cdsouthan on November 1, 2012 4:11 PM writes...

I have done some following up, including a possible structure, and the plot thickens

Permalink to Comment


Remember Me?


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

The Last Post
The GSK Layoffs Continue, By Proxy
The Move is Nigh
Another Alzheimer's IPO
Cutbacks at C&E News
Sanofi Pays to Get Back Into Oncology
An Irresponsible Statement About Curing Cancer
Oliver Sacks on Turning Back to Chemistry