There has been a growing number of intellectual property (IP) applications among innovators in the scientific community. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reports that over the last few years, many scientists have submitted IP right applications. The majority of these applications are said to be done in response to the ever-growing competitiveness of publicly- and privately-funded research opportunities. Intellectual property attorneys, meanwhile, see this expansion as not only a protective measure but an astute and subtle business procedure.
IP right protection falls under any of three categories: patents, trademarks, or copyrights. Each have their own feature and characteristic, but all three distinguish a specific product or service as the property of an individual. Any mention, use, or application of that product or service after an IP approval is subject to either monetary or legal compensation. The ultimate objective of IP law is to protect any original authorship and assure innovators that their intellectual developments are recognized. Nevertheless, scientists are now using these applications as a means to augment their research capabilities.
Many companies today are implementing stricter rules for funded research. Pharmaceutical giants are no longer as liberal with their income as they were a few years ago, and often, it is recognized scientists who are given the bulk of research funding. Newly starting scientists usually have to scrape by and start out small (if at all). Having goods that are IP protected (even if they are at the time, experimental) give these companies something to consider. The chances of approval are generally higher.
Nevertheless, it must be noted that IP right applications undergo similar rigorous processes and may take years before approval.