The Care and Feeding of Intellectual Property

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  07 May 1965:
Vol. 148, Issue 3671, pp. 739-743
DOI: 10.1126/science.148.3671.739


What can the researcher do to protect his ideas? Here the saying "It is a wise father that knows his own child" is applicable. Can a present-day researcher be sure that an idea is really his brain child? Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that this is possible; then his safest procedure is to keep that idea to himself until it can be submitted in a protectable package. Most universities and other non-profit research institutions lack patent policies sufficiently broad to be of much assistance to either the researcher or the institution. Possibly the first needed step in increasing the protection of research is a broadening of institutional patent policies to embrace property in ideas, even though ideas may not at present be patentable. Secondly, information regarding what institutions can do to assist in achieving protection of ideas should be disseminated as widely as possible. Thirdly, liaison should be established between the institution and Research Incorporated (32), or some similar nonprofit organization serving the educational community, in order that the developmental aspect of the idea may be guided at an early stage, so that when it is presented for commercial evaluation it will be in a protectable package and appropriately wrapped.