Intellectual Property – Patents
Many years ago, the ability to be successful as a chemist in the personal care market, one needed a freshly minted chemistry degree, a good company for which to work and a good mentor. Today, our industry has become more complex, in addition to chemistry, one needs an understanding of biology, biochemistry, polymer chemistry, analytical chemistry, marketing, regulatory and even law. The explosion of the disciplines that are important to the personal care formulator has forever changed our industry.
As the new technologies that are used to make the new formulations evolve, there is a growing need to protect technology with patents. To date there are over 10 million U.S. Patents. The start of the research and formulation development still includes chemists and marketing desires but should and often does include a patent attorney.
This Science for the Formulator article is designed to increase awareness of the importance of patents and to foster a relationship between the chemist, the marketing people and the patent attorney. All of which have different backgrounds and abilities, and all must communicate to each other to optimize the resulting patent protection.
PATENTS - GETTING MORE THAN A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Intellectual property is the fruit of the mind of man that once reduced to practice offer a company valuable property which provides that company an advantage in commerce not enjoyed by others. There is, due to the verbiage of law, a misconception when it comes to getting a patent. The first thing is: You cannot patent an idea. A U.S. patent is only awarded to the person who brings an idea to practice. The second misconception is: There are no patent police. The assignee of the patent has the responsibility to enforce its patents. In short, the ability to get and enforce patents, is the concepts and developments that make a company what it is and differentiate it from others in the same business (1).
Patents have become an increasingly important part of the product development process. This requires that the c ...