5 like 0 dislike
in Open Science by (1.2k points)

While it might seem antithetical to open science to obtain a patent, I am wondering whether it might ever be better to patent a discovery or invention to prevent others from subsequently trying to patent it. Is there any way for obtaining a patent to be consistent with open science?

This post has been migrated from the Open Science private beta at StackExchange (A51.SE)

2 Answers

2 like 0 dislike
by (725 points)

You could opt for a defensive publication instead. From Wikipedia:

A defensive publication is the act of publishing a detailed description of a new invention without patenting it, so as to establish prior art and public identification as the creator/originator of an invention, although a defensive publication can also be anonymous. A defensive publication prevents others from later being able to patent the invention.

No matter how defensive a patent is, people might still fear it could fall into the wrong hands.

This post has been migrated from the Open Science private beta at StackExchange (A51.SE)
0 like 0 dislike
by (50 points)

It all depends on the field. I would argue that protecting IP in some areas is more important than releasing the invention into the wild. Have a look at an example from International SAE Consortium:

The Consortium undertakes to proactively make intellectual property filings to reduce the likelihood that use of it’s public data will be encumbered by “follow-on patents” filed by other parties (commercial or otherwise).  The Consortium has determined the most effective way to ensure that its public data is securely placed in the public domain (with the earliest available priority date) is to file provisional patent applications covering all novel discoveries made prior to the filing, and to include claims directed toward these data (including genetic markers and genotype/haplotype-phenotype associations). 

Have also look at BiOS and their patent licensing policy.

Ask Open Science used to be called Open Science Q&A but we changed the name when we registered the domain ask-open-science.org. Everything else stays the same: We are still hosted by Bielefeld University.

If you participated in the Open Science beta at StackExchange, please reclaim your user account now – it's already here!

E-mail the webmaster

Legal notice

Privacy statement