To patent or not to patent: which one is the better alternative?

20 Nov 2017

Publishing of research findings is an important activity in the academic fraternity. However, if the research findings are novel it is better to patent protect first and then publish later in an open forum. An invention is owned by you until it is patented. Patent is the culmination process of knowledge production and thus must be protected and then exploited for socio-economic gain. The patent process is long and arduous and involves the Technology Transfer Office of the Directorate for Research & Innovation. The process involves patent search, appointment of patent attorney and then writing in legal language the scientific invention. This aspect is important as this cover the areas or loopholes where others might infringe on the patent. The patent search involves the searching of the invention in all patent databases so not infringe on other patents. The patent attorney is an expert on law and also in scientific matters and will guide you in the patent search and drafting the patent document that outlines your invention. Once the provisional or complete patent is filed and registered nationally and or international (Patent Cooperation Treaty), the inventor(s) can then proceed to harvest the benefits of the patent for the next 20 years. Now the paper can be published in peer reviewed journal (open public forum). The inventors also gain two things: the patent and the publication. The benefits accrue to the inventors and applicant, in this case the University where the research was conducted. University Rankings take into account the patents held by universities annually. Thus taking a patent has more benefits and it is better to patent protect the novel idea and then publish later.