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Frequently Asked Questions

Why file a patent?

There are a number of reasons for filing a patent application:

(i) Potential income for inventors and institutes - PBL only takes on technologies that it considers to have commercial potential, for generation of future income to the inventors and their institutes.
(ii) Requirements of funding bodies - Increasingly funding bodies are looking towards exploitation of research that they have funded. This can be demonstrated through patent applications.
(iii) Exploitation - It costs considerable sums of money to take basic research and turn it into a product that is usable by a consumer. Without some sort of protection no organisation will invest the resources to develop the technology, leaving it undeveloped and unavailable to the outside world.

Can I carry on working in the area?

Yes, of course. It is a great advantage if there is ongoing work in the area of an emerging, patented technology. This may help strengthen your patent and provide prototypes and information in support of our marketing of your technology. It may also be appropriate that our commercial partners/licensees wish to sponsor further work in your lab on the technology, and in such an event we would implement suitable sponsored research agreements for you and your organisation.


Can I collaborate with other academics? 

All technologies patented by PBL are available for genuine academic research on signing our standard material transfer agreement.


What is an academic MTA?

An academic MTA is a material transfer agreement that sets out the conditions for gaining access to a particular technology or specific research materials. It will contain conditions relating to field of use (usually limited to academic research only), exploitation or results, and cover the sender against liabilities. These type of agreements are standard practice and protect the inventor/scientist from unauthorised exploitation of their technology.


What is "academic" research?

Academic research is any research carried out in an academic institution for non-commercial purposes. This does not include collaborative research carried out under sponsored research agreements. if you have any questions as to whether your research qualifies as "academic", then please contact us .


What technologies should I talk to PBL about?

We specialise in plant and microbial sciences where we have considerable experience in understanding both the technology and the market. We can give expert advice in the following areas:

(i) plant science (GM and non-GM)
(ii) microbes
(iii) research materials (eg libraries, clones, mutants etc)
(iv) functional foods
(v) research methodologies

I do not work in the UK. Is this a problem?

We are now dealing with academics and institutions from all over the world. Although we prefer some form of personal contact the majority of work can be done via phone or email. We regularly attend international conferences, and arrange meetings with many of our contacts at these events.


How much will it cost?

Nothing. Our usual arrangement is for PBL to pay all the patent costs in return for a share of the net revenue generated by PBL. This means that there will be no risk to you or your institution.


What is Net Revenue?

This is the total revenue generated by the technology minus the external patent costs. Because we have our own in-house patent expertise we are able to minimise these costs, and our knowledge of the markets enables us to maximise revenues.


When will I see some money from my technology?

The commercialisation of basic science is a long business, so do not expect immediate riches. However, we try to generate some revenues as soon as possible in any deals we do. Please see the Information for Inventors  section for further details.


What constitutes a "disclosure"?

A disclosure is any publication that puts information into the public domain. This could be a paper, poster, abstract, website, or oral presentation. Any of these could effect the patentability of your invention, so please contact us  for advice.


Are discussions with PBL confidential?

Yes, all discussions that we have with potential inventors are confidential. We will also draft a confidentiality agreement between PBL and you or your institution, as appropriate.


don't know of any commercial applications for my technology.

One of our skills is in assessing a technology for commercial applicability, which comes from our expert view of the industry. We always discuss possible commercial applications with inventors, but we will often be able to suggest possible applications that were not apparent to the inventor.

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