Teaching Scientists How To Protect Their Intellectual Property

Jun 22, 2020

Politicians and police are continuing to crack down on intellectual property theft in what is costing the U.S. as much as $600 billion a year. But what if you could teach scientists to protect themselves as an added layer of security?

The University of Dayton School of Law and the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) have developed the first-of-it's-kind online training course for researchers so they can learn how to prevent the loss of intellectual property and data rights.

"The government has good policies with regards to intellectual property, good procedures, but a lot of folks interpret these issues as complicated," says UD's Director of Strategic Initiatives Paul Schlottman.

Schlottman and AFRL attorney Sabra Tomb set out to simplify the concept, which had previously been tackled at a much higher level and didn't work very well.

"So we give scientists and engineers the basics to be equipped to be knowledgeable enough to know how, if and when they have a potential invention, and when to collaborate with a technology transfer specialist."

Tomb says that involves teaching the following:

  • What forms to fill out
  • Who to talk to before sharing information
  • When to disclose
  • How to determine the timeline
  • When to talk to a technology transfer specialist
  • When to present the information to a patent attorney

"We definitely went out of our way to find world-class experts from within the Air Force but also industry, and we took a great deal of effort to identify the specific knowledge and information that a scientist or engineer needed," says Schlottman.

Beta tests of the training have been overwhelmingly positive from government and private sector scientists and the new course is expected to start by the end of June.