What happens when researchers use patented technology without licenses?

Many universities, and many research organisations, use patented technologies in the hope that multi-national patent holders will not prosecute them or their organisations. Also, many scientists or companies are not currently aware of the implications of patents and IP restrictions on their work. They may find out after spending years, and large amounts of money, often public funding, on their projects, that because they used technology that they do not have the legal right to use, they cannot supply any deliverables that can be incorporated in a product.

Many researchers believe that no license is required to practice patented methods in research. This may or may not be true in your jurisdiction. For example, it is not true for most research in the US. It may appear to be true in that patent holders often choose not to prevent universities and research organisations from using patented technologies without licenses. In some countries such use is under a research exemption. Either way, however, there are still long-term implications of patents and IP restrictions on research work.

Scientists may find out after spending years, and large amounts of money (often public funding), on their projects, that because they used technology that they do not have the legal right to use commercially, they cannot supply any deliverables that can be incorporated in a product. An example of this was ten years of development by Australian researchers of a pea crop resistent to a multimillion dollar weevil pest.  It still wasn't possible to commercialise a product because a single company that held a blocking patent would not allow it.  Companies that could bring to market any products and services based on university and institutional research are concerned about infringement liability risks.

For BiOS-licensed technologies, researchers do not need to risk operating outside of license regulations, because agreeing to the terms of the BiOS license gives them access to the tools they need. We want to allow a re-creation of the connection that should exist between publicly funded research and applied implementation of that research for the fostering of small and medium enterprises and public good.

Comments (0)