IP and Patents

A patent provides the owner or licensee with a temporary monopoly for their invention, and allows them to prevent others from working that invention.

The patenting process is long and expensive – but it is a vital commercial tool.

What can be patented?

Proteins, chemical compounds, methods of use, diagnostic assays, medical devices and cell lines are just some examples of what is patentable. It must be an invention (something arising from human application) and not merely a discovery.

​The invention must be:

  • Novel: not previously described publicly in any forum anywhere in the world.

  • Inventive: not obvious to an average worker in the field.

  • Useful: it must have some commercial utility.

The TTO will work with you and our patent attorneys to determine if your invention meets these criteria.

​In addition, to be eligible for patenting we almost must consider whether patenting is the best route available to ensure the best public access to our therapies. For expensive medical therapies, patenting is often essential. However, we must also consider:

​Is licensing this invention likely to justify the high cost of patenting?

  • At what stage of development is it?

  • What are the prospects for further development?

  • Could infringement be detected?

  • Can potential licensees be developed?

  • Would patenting now affect the novelty of further inventions?

​The TTO will consider these aspects before committing to filing a patent application.

For further information about patenting or to arrange IP tutorials specific to your group’s needs, contact the TTO.


Other forms of IP

Where patenting is not the best route for protecting your invention, other avenues may be possible. Copyright, trade secrets, know-how, trademarks etc may also be useful depending on the type of IP you wish to protect. Even in the absence of IP, the clinical samples we have access to support research, along with our complex datasets underlying our inventions often make copying very difficult, and attracting commercial funding for development is still feasible. Contact the TTO to assist in assessing other forms of IP protection for your work.