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Q: How to protect scientific invention (theory)? ( No Answer,   9 Comments )
Subject: How to protect scientific invention (theory)?
Category: Science > Biology
Asked by: yspex-ga
List Price: $40.00
Posted: 24 Jun 2004 21:10 PDT
Expires: 24 Jul 2004 21:10 PDT
Question ID: 365992
We have a theory, which we can fully explain and prove to any
scientist who is heavily involved in this field. This is a very
serious scientific discovery, which can change life of millions. Is
there a way in USA to patent a scientific invention (discovery) which
is a theory (not a method), other than publishing it in magazines? If
not, then how to get
published in science or any major medical magazines? Our group of
scientists is not well known, we have no connections and very limited
finances, but the subject we are working on - is what any such
magazine would definitely include in their publications, especially if
it is a major breakthrough (which is what we believe we have). We
cannot give the article to editors and let them decide if they want to
publish it (meanwhile forwarding our unprotected discovery to someone
else). Our main goal is to make our knowledge known to the public as soon as
possible, but do it only the right way - so no one could have a chance
to claim our discovery as their own.

Clarification of Question by yspex-ga on 25 Jun 2004 13:03 PDT
Our discovery, as we believe, will clarify the understanding of a
major disease, which will make it possible to fully cure this disease.
We also have the formula for the cure, but it does not apply to my
question because this clearly must be patented.

Request for Question Clarification by mathtalk-ga on 25 Jun 2004 13:58 PDT
Hi, yspex-ga:

You use the word invention and follow it parenthetically by discovery.

In fact the distinction between the two is critical to patent law.  If
you are fortunate enough to have discovered some science which is
unknown to others, then you are indeed fortunate.  But there is no
legal protection to prevent others from making the same or similar
discovery of scientific facts.

Secrecy ("trade secrets") is then the most cogent form of intellectual
property protection in this circumstance, but apart from extracting
promises from those to whom you disclose such knowledge (that might be
enforceable as contracts), there is little legal framework involved. 
Perhaps your desire to publish is intended to increase the likelihood
of funding (or fame), but in the absence of an invention and some
related broad patent claims, publication would be about the worst way
to "protect" your discovery.

Perhaps instead it is your "main goal is to make our knowledge known
to the public as soon as possible".  Something of this sort is
intended by patent law, which provides for the (eventual) publication
of patent applications while preserving an inventor's claim.

Hence you should clarify, at least in your own mind, whether what
you've accomplished is a discovery or an invention.

regards, mathtalk-ga

Clarification of Question by yspex-ga on 28 Jun 2004 05:40 PDT
This is a discovery.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: How to protect scientific invention (theory)?
From: probonopublico-ga on 24 Jun 2004 21:53 PDT
Then you have to publish.

Do this yourselves, it's not expensive with Digital Printing and then
market it widely.

Good Luck!
Subject: Re: How to protect scientific invention (theory)?
From: easterangel-ga on 25 Jun 2004 02:49 PDT
I don't think there is a clear cut right answer to this. Maybe you can
do the following.

1. Establish a full pledged website explaining this theory.
2. Copyright the website and the main article you created.
3. Write to the scientific community to review your theory.
Subject: Before you publish
From: ulu-ga on 25 Jun 2004 03:45 PDT
If you want to patent it somewhere other than the US (i.e. Europe),
you have to apply for a patent before publishing.

There are some other techniques to "protect" it.

You might want to think how this theory can be applied and patent
devices that would utilize it.
Subject: Re: How to protect scientific invention (theory)?
From: probonopublico-ga on 25 Jun 2004 04:20 PDT
Patenting is VERY expensive for worldwide cover and can you afford to
defend the patent if it is breached?
Subject: Re: How to protect scientific invention (theory)?
From: dr_bob-ga on 25 Jun 2004 08:44 PDT
First, I'm not a patent lawyer, but I know a little bit about IP.

1.) To have a patent, you have to apply your theory and reduce it to
practice.  You must show your invention has utility.  Otherwise its
just useless pontification and unenforceable.  Someone who reduces
aspects of your theory to practice stands a better than average chance
of using your work for free.

2.) If you have great theory, and want the credit for it, simply write
it up and submit it to a prestigous scientific journal with the
appropriate proof. Your peers will review it and tell you whether it's
work that deserves merit or not.

3.) To prove utility, you do not have to change the face of the earth,
you just need to show how your invention(theory) is useful.  So if you
can find a single application that is a useful application for your
theory, then it is worth patenting.

4.) If you publish your theory for all the world to see,
congratulations you just made it public domain and as far as I know,
you have no patent rights to anything you published or anything that
others discover from your knowledge.

5.) If it is intellectual theory(like computer programs), you can
copyright the material which can also protect you.

6.) When it comes to invention, the US is a 'first to invent' country.
 Thus, if you apply for your patent at the same time someone else
does, whoever can prove they invented something first wins the patent.

Subject: Re: How to protect scientific invention (theory)?
From: politicalguru-ga on 25 Jun 2004 13:10 PDT
In particular if you have developed a medicine to an incurable
disease, list it as a patent, as forumals (the medicine's forumla)
could be listed as a patent.

However, I tend to agree with Dr. Bob that if this is only a theory,
send it to a peer-reviewed journal as an academic article. No-one
could "steal" from you something that has been published in a
scientific magazine; but as Bob said, if you have practical
applications to this theory, it might be wise to register them as
Subject: Re: How to protect scientific invention (theory)?
From: dr_bob-ga on 25 Jun 2004 20:50 PDT
In such a case:

You can patent the process of hitting the biological target as a
mechanism to cure this particular disease.  Done all the time.  Do a
literature search on RNASE H and antisense.

You of course will also want to patent your cure as a cure.  And, if
it is a novel entity, the composition of its matter and any
compositions that are likely to work as well.

You can also patent the use of previously discovered and patented
drugs for your application.  See thalidomide, and phentolamine as
recent examples.

All of these are separate patents, and allow you to protect your
invention in different ways and prevent others from treading on your
intellectual property.

Subject: Re: How to protect scientific invention (theory)?
From: acrh2-ga on 28 Jun 2004 14:45 PDT
What is the desease that you can cure?
Subject: Re: How to protect scientific invention (theory)?
From: acrh2-ga on 28 Jun 2004 14:50 PDT
I maybe off on this one, as I am only a scientist, not a patent law
expert, but I don't believe that you can patent a theory.  A method,
or a formula for a cure, yes.  But if you don't have the finances to
go from theory to practice, you need to negotiate a deal with a major
pharmaceutical company.  They will have the resources to develop a
cure and a patent for it, and you can get some of the royalties from

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