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Methods Mol Biol. 2017;1606:379-397. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6990-6_25.

Inventions and Patents: A Practical Tutorial.

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George Mason University, Manassas, VA, 20110, USA.
Tidwell Medical Technologies, LLC, Cary, NC, 27518, USA.
George Mason University, Manassas, VA, 20110, USA.
Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, George Mason University, 10920 George Mason Circle, Manassas, VA, 20110, USA.


Patents are designed to protect and encourage creativity and innovation. Patenting a biomedical discovery can be a requirement before a pharmaceutical company or biotech entity will invest in the lengthy and capital-intensive drug development and clinical trials necessary to achieve patient benefit. Although scientists and clinicians are well versed in research publication requirements, patent descriptions and claims are formatted in a manner quite different from a research paper. Patents require (a) a series of logical statements clearly delineating the boundaries of the novel aspects of the invention and (b) sufficient disclosure of the invention so that it can be reproduced by others. Patents are granted only for inventions that meet three conditions: novelty, non-obviousness, and usefulness. Recent changes to US patent law limit the scope of patentable material. Products of nature such as nucleic acids and proteins, or steps used to observe natural events, are no longer patent eligible. This chapter provides basic guidelines and definitions for inventions, inventorship, and patent filing which are summarized using a question and answer format.


Disclosure; Discovery; Intellectual property; Invention; Licensing; Nondisclosure agreement; Patent; Technology transfer

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