Patents are the most common tool to obtain Intellectual Property (IP) protection and are often essential in securing investments necessary for continued development. Time and money consuming developments will only be economically justified when there is a reasonable chance of obtaining return on investment. Patents can provide that opportunity as they secure a period of exclusivity during which the investments can be repaid. Especially at the research stage it is important to consider patent protection of the idea, to enable advanced development and making the invention generally available as final product or service.
One does not exclude the other, it’s just important to get the timing right; that is, file a patent application before publishing.
Scientists do not always realize the added value of their ideas. Some ideas appear so obvious and trivial, while you at Business Generator recognize the uniqueness and potential of these “obvious” ideas.
Any employee of RUG or UMCG with a potentially patentable idea can contact Business Generator or Research & Valorisation (R&V), who will jointly provide support in the patent process. This process starts with an intake of the invention, completion of an invention disclosure form, followed by a thorough prior art search and applicability scan. When both are satisfactory, a patent application is written and submitted by patent attorneys. All steps are done in close collaboration with the inventor.
A patent is built upon an idea or invention and describes the application of the invention, supported with examples and resulting in conclusions or claims. The date of submitting a patent application is known as priority date and the claimed invention should be novel, innovative, applicable and reproducible. A patent application is being examined by a Patent Office and will be granted, when these requirements are fulfilled sufficiently.
The costs of patent application will be borne by the patent-fund, with 25% (maximum €2,500) contribution of the research group. The patent-fund is intended to provide the required funding until a licensing agreement has been achieved, after which the licensing partner will take over the associated costs.
One of the requirements for a patent is novelty. It is therefore important that any patentable idea is discussed with R&V or Business Generator, before it is made public through publication, including presentations, posters, and submitted manuscripts. When the idea is shared early, any delays in publishing can remain to the minimum.