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10 Things Physician Entrepreneurs Should Know About Intellectual Property


Anyone interested in becoming an entrepreneur needs to have a good idea of the fundamentals of patents and intellectual property law. Here's a primer.

refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce. It is one of the keystones of physician and bioscience entrepreneurship, so anyone interested in getting an idea to patients need to be familiar with some fundamentals. Here are 10 things you should know or know how to do:

1. Know the different types of IP. Here are five things you should know about patents, for example.

2. Know how to protect your IP.

3. Know how to monetize your IP.

4. Know the difference between patenting something and having freedom to operate, without infringing on someone else's IP.

5. Understand how your IP strategy fits into your overall business strategy.

6. Know when and how to enter a public domain without jeopardizing your future patentability of IP rights.

7. Know when and whether you even need to go to the time and expense of patenting something, and, once you do, how to optimize your patent portfolio by pruning it or making continuous applications.

8. Know how to find an IP professional that is right for you.

9. Know whether your idea is patentable.

10. Follow the ever-changing IP landscape given recent high profile Appeals Court and US Supreme Court decisions in bioscience, technology, and software.

In addition to these nuts and bolts, there are many career opportunities for bioscientists and medical professionals in the world of intellectual property including technology transfer professionals, patent examiners, patent searchers, patent agents and patent lawyers.

Be sure you know the IP fundamentals and consult a professional sooner than later. It is worth a few bucks to do the right thing or kill your idea instead of spending a fortune later.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice