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Patenting & Licensing Process

  What is "Intellectual Property"?

"All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States... the Congress shall have Power to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." United States Constitution, Article 1, Paragraph 8, Clause 8.

The writers of the Constitution understood that a U.S. Citizen has the right to protect the useful products can result from mental labor as well as physical labor. Over the years, a number of federal and international laws and best practices have evolved to protect so called "intellectual property". The table below compares "intellectual property" with "real property".

 

  Real Property Intellectual Property
Example Personal Automobile Formula for a Synthetic Compound
How Acquired With Cash Obtained Performing Physical Labor With Time Spent Performing Mental Labor
Basic Rights Ownership of Your Body Ownership of Your Mind
Physical Attributes Yes No
Useful Yes Yes 
Value to Others  Yes  Yes 
What's Protected  The Property Itself Profit from Use 
How it's Protected  Laws Related to Theft  Patent and Copyright Law 
Can be Sold or Licensed  Yes Yes 

While in its initial construct, intellectual property has no tangible form, it can be described in the "physical" pages of scientific publications and patents. Moreover, one can produce tangible commercial embodiments of "intellectual property". For example, vials of a new drug are embodiments of a new compound described in a patent application.

 

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MEDICAL COLLEGE OF WISCONSIN
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