How to strengthen your patent 101

Why do we care about patents? If you create something – whether it’s a medical device, a new type of shoelace, or a better method of washing clothes – you have the chance to protect your idea and earn money off it. A patent is a publicly available, government-issued document that gives certain rights to an invention, such as preventing others from making, using, or selling your invention. Patents provide crucial protection to intellectual property, the intangible creations of the human intellect. When you apply for a patent, it’s processed within the administrative and legal framework of the patent office. Read More …

Breaking Down Intellectual Property in Pop Culture

Intellectual property, or IP, is an ancient idea that dictates how we consume today’s pop culture. Without IP, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our favorite shows from the comfort of our couch, quote iconic movie lines, or even immerse ourselves in the latest bestselling novel. IP is crucial to pop culture, but what is it, exactly? Intellectual property is “a work or investigation that is the result of creativity to which one has rights and for which one may apply for a patent, copyright, trademark, etc.” Sound vague? It’s supposed to. Part of the reason is because of IP’s Read More …

Artificial intelligence in healthcare: How machines can improve patient experience and outcomes

Technology has become an integral part of our lives – including medicine. Now, healthcare industries are harnessing novel innovations, including artificial intelligence (AI), to improve many aspects of care. AI has been applied in patient diagnosis and monitoring, treatment protocol development, radiology, and drug development. While some of this might seem like science fiction, medical professionals use it every day to better the lives of their patients. How AI improves healthcare AI allows us not only to analyze data, but also to find their subtle and complex patterns. Machine learning algorithms, specifically, are responsible for these advancements. Engineers have developed Read More …

Six Things to Know about Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are a way to protect confidential information without a legal fee. Any piece of knowledge that gives a business or corporation a competitive advantage can be a trade secret. Do you have rights to a trade secret? Read on. 1. Trade secrets can include technical and commercial information. According to the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), a trade secret can be any “formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process” that has commercial value based upon keeping it a secret. This can be technical information (ex. manufacturing processes and computer program designs) or commercial information (ex. client Read More …

Six Things to Know about Design Patents

Patents give inventors intellectual property rights by excluding other people from creating, using, or selling an invention for a set period of time. In return, inventors publish an enabling disclosure for the invention, which provides basic technical information about the invention to the public. There are actually several types of patents including plant patents, design patents, and utility patents. Most people think of utility patents when they think of the types of intellectual property that is protected with a patent. For example, machines, software, or manufactured items. However, design patents also play an important role in protecting the inventor’s right Read More …

Six Things to Know About Trademarks

Understanding trademarks and the rights they afford you, as well as understanding how to avoid trademark disputes, are essential to your success and the success of any of your brands or companies. This blog will give a brief overview of 6 essential things to know about trademarks and trademark laws to help aid your understanding of this subject. Trademarks are different from patents and copyrights: Trademarks, copyrights, and patents all protect intellectual property, but they all protect different types of intellectual property. A patent protects functional inventions, copyright protects original artistic or literary work, and trademarks are reserved for brand Read More …

What is Informed Consent?

Informed consent is the process of obtaining a patient’s or participant’s permission prior to conducting a medical procedure or investigation on said person. It involves ensuring that the participant completely comprehends and agrees to the potential consequences of any procedures that they will undergo. Examples include, a health care provider asking their patient to consent to a surgical procedure before providing it, or a psychologist discussing information about the study with a future research participant prior to enrolling them into an experimental study. As such, informed consent is collected according to guidelines from the fields of medical ethics and research Read More …

The Institutional Review Boards 101

New discoveries of therapies and drug mechanisms are not always the daily news headline, but today ethical guidelines exist to continue to keep a standard of the production of any new medication or treatment. However, the history of clinical research has not always been so ethical. For instance, the PHS Syphilis Study in Tuskegee, AL and the Willowbrook Hepatitis Experiments, are only two of many notorious examples of horrifically unethical clinical trials. The purpose of this article is to bring light into the role of the Institutional Review Boards (IRB) in relationship to on ongoing clinical trials today to ensure Read More …

Be Ware of Preprints: Protect Your Intellectual Property First

Who owns the rights to a new innovation described in a research paper? If a patent is in place, the answer is simple: the owner. Generally, the lengthy, and confidential, peer-review process means that authors of unpublished work have ample time to submit an invention disclosure and to have their technology transfer office review and if necessary, file a patent, ensuring that any new invention is protected prior to any public disclosure. However, the rise of “preprint” services, which allow authors to publish preliminary findings ahead of peer-review, has complicated this process. Preprints can severely hamper the ability of authors Read More …

What is PHI?

PHI stands for Protected Health Information and encompasses all information acquired during health care services that could potentially be used to identify an individual. PHI does not only include medical records, but also communications between medical personnel regarding treatment, billing information and health insurance reports. For information to be formally considered PHI under the law, it must be created, received, stored, or transmitted by HIPAA-covered entities. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), covered entities are limited in the types of PHI they can collect from individuals, share with other organizations or use in marketing. HIPAA-covered entities include Read More …

The Future of Medical Records – FHIR

As medical care becomes increasingly sophisticated, the successful transfer and utilization of patient records is critical for providing the best outcomes. The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR), developed by the nonprofit group Health Level 7 International (HL7), is the latest standard for such data. FHIR seeks to transform the way patient data is used by giving everyone from doctors to developers the opportunity to view and build on it in unprecedented ways. Before FHIR, standards for sharing patient data could roughly be compared to PDFs. Health care providers receiving a report from another doctor could see the doctor’s notation, but Read More …

Clinical Trials 101

Any time a new drug appears on the market, the final product is a result of years of research and testing. The time from conception to FDA approval for medications takes 12 years on average. An important and time-consuming aspect of this process are clinical trials. By testing a drug on gradually increasing numbers of patients and volunteers, researchers are able verify that it is both safe and effective in treating the disease or condition. Only when the first three steps of this process are complete can the drug be approved and commercially distributed. Phase 1 is the shortest of Read More …

The Ins and Outs of Creative Commons Manuscript Submissions

It’s fairly easy to prove ownership of a newly purchased jacket: simply pull out your receipt. But what about a story you wrote, or an invention you designed? What if someone takes your original plan and modifies it? What if a rival claims you stole their idea? The question of ownership only amplifies in importance as technology and progress gains more speed than ever before. In the field of research, this question is critical: what is the point in investing in and developing a technology that the competition can copy as soon as you share it? Copyrights, trademarks, patents, and Read More …

The Ever-Confusing World of Contract Lingo – Part 2

While much of OTT’s work deals with the review, protection, and management of the inventions made by our faculty, there is a whole other side that is of equal importance: negotiating contracts with industry, be it for licenses, clinical trials, collaborations, sponsored work, or confidential discussions. Just as the world of patents has its own set of jargon and terms, contracts do too. Below we’ve compiled a helpful list of some common terms you may encounter in contracts. You can find part 1 of this blog here. Common Contract Terms & Concepts Continued Representation: A fact that one party states Read More …

The Ever-Confusing World of Contract Lingo – Part 1

While much of OTT’s work deals with the review, protection, and management of the inventions made by our faculty, there is a whole other side that is of equal importance: negotiating contracts with industry, be it for licenses, clinical trials, collaborations, sponsored work, or confidential discussions. Just as the world of patents has its own set of jargon and terms, contracts do too. Below we’ve compiled a helpful list of some common terms you may encounter in contracts. What is a Contract? At its most basic, a contract is a binding legal agreement voluntarily entered into by two or more Read More …

IP Jargon: What are they talking about? – Part 2

When beginning the process of protecting your invention, lots of industry specific terms and legal jargon get thrown around and can seem a bit daunting. To help ease you into the world of intellectual property protection, OTT has collected and defined some of the most common words and phrases that you’re likely to come across. In this two-part post, we’ll discuss jargon heard in patent statutes and applications and during the patent review process and a patent appeal (Part 1 can be found here). In this part we will cover jargon often heard during the patent review and appeal processes. Read More …

IP Jargon: What are they talking about? – Part 1

When beginning the process of protecting your invention, lots of industry specific terms and legal jargon get thrown around and can seem a bit daunting. To help ease you into the world of intellectual property protection, OTT has collected and defined some of the most common words and phrases that you’re likely to come across. In this two-part post, we’ll discuss jargon heard in patent statutes and applications and during the patent review process and a patent appeal. In this part we will cover jargon found in patent statutes and applications. Patent Statue Jargon Statutory Subject Matter: Something that can Read More …

Navigating the U. S. Patent Process

Getting Started: The Provisional Patent Application There are multiple avenues to consider when filing a patent based on the specifics of the situation and the inventors. The first available option (and the one most used at universities) is a provisional application. The importance of provisional patents stems from the patent system’s usage of a first to file system, which dictates that the first party to file a patent for a technology, rather than the first party to invent the technology, is granted the rights for the invention. Unlike a non-provisional patent application, a provisional application is not examined and does Read More …

Anatomy of a Patent Application

One of the most common ways to protect certain types of inventions (like medical devices or new chemical compositions) is through patenting. This guide quickly explains the parts of a United States patent application which is filled through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Generally, patents are divided into seven sections. The sections are as follows: Title Background: A description of the problem the invention hopes to solve, along with information on any previous inventions of a similar function (prior art). Summary: A concise description of the claims. Description of Drawings: A list of drawings that appear within Read More …

Six Things to Know About Copyrights

There are plenty of myths and confusion around copyright law. Many people aren’t sure what a copyright covers and how it differs from other types of intellectual property (IP) protection like patents or trademarks. Although a blog is too short to go into all the specific details of copyright law, we hope to hit a few key highpoints here and help clarify what a copyright is and its function. A copyright differs from a patent or trademark in that it protects an original work of authorship. A patent protects functional inventions or discoveries and a trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, Read More …