SSE Talks


The Patent Hurdles Faced By Companies Seeking To Protect Inventions In Emerging And/or Not Widely Accepted Sciences
May 12, 2010 at 4:34 PM EST | S. PARKER


Stephen Parker


In emerging sciences and/or not widely accepted sciences related to, e.g., mental states such as, e.g., OBEs, etc., and/or related to systems, methods or devices related to such "new sciences," inventors face hurdles well beyond most other areas of technology. And, the Patent Office has recently raised the cross-bars on a number of these hurdles. For example, historically protection for inventions in areas related to a) medical devices and/or processes, b) inventions closely related to natural phenomenon, c) computer software related inventions, and d) business method inventions are already well understood by patent practitioners to be areas of difficulty for seeking protection. However, many inventions in these new sciences touch on a plurality of these areas concurrently. And, in some of these areas, such as, e.g., related to computer software, business methods, the hurdles were recently raised substantially by the courts. Although this patent landscape is perhaps more arduous to cross, there are still a variety of ways to obtain protection in these areas of technology. Accordingly, one can typically cross these hurdles if they are prepared for them. However, while these legal hurdles are substantial enough, many researchers and scientists often face another hurdle or dilemma, one that often leads them to these new areas of study in the first place: a desire to contribute to the common good and not to seek personal reward and profit. However, these may not necessarily be mutually exclusive. After all, if one is not able to protect their inventions, then rendering a profit becomes increasingly difficult, and research and development terminates. Without patent protection, it is difficult to a) attract investors, b) prevent theft of invention, and/or c) to even steer the field in a desired direction, etc. I have worked with all types of companies, and without question intellectual property can be of great importance to a) companies engaged in a) substantial research and experimentation efforts to develop products, b) companies in start up phases. However, many companies engaged in these new sciences fall into one or more of these categories. Thus, protection can be of great importance for such companies. However, intellectual property rights are solely a product of the law. Without the law, there are no intellectual property rights. And, if one does not proceed to obtain and register these rights, this protection will likely be minimal or non-existent. It is important to act timely, and to take steps in the right direction. Last, it is also important to appreciate that in areas of technology, patent protection is typically far more important than other forms of IP protection such as, e.g., copyright and trademark protection.


Stephen B. Parker, Managing Partner of WP&D, law offices in Washington, D.C. Mr. Parker previously founded and chaired a committee on protecting medical devices in the largest U.S. Patent Law Association (the A.I.P.L.A.), and has also taught a class on protecting software inventions for the D.C. Bar for the last 5 years. Mr. Parker has also taught IP management as part of a graduate class at Johns Hopkins University on protection of bio technology. Mr. Parker is also presently engaged in remote viewing experiments with Univ. of Virginia. He has also practiced and studied so-called OBE and other mental states for over 20 years.




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