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Jane Doe
Protecting Research
« on: Sep 1st, 2005, 10:56pm »
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If a someone conducts research and writes a paper/article/etc. on their results, the writing would likely be protected under copyright.  What protection, if any, exists to cover the research?  
For example, you conduct a study and gather data.  Without your permission (and before you do anything with the data), someone takes the data and claims it as their own.  A good example would be students working on a class project who have the professor take their results and claim the research in a paper of his own.  
This isn't a copyright issue (I don't believe), nor is it patentable.  Could it be protected as a "trade secret"?
Thank you.
IP Logged
Senior Member


Posts: 3472
Re: Protecting Research
« Reply #1 on: Sep 2nd, 2005, 7:51am »
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If you publish the paper, the contents won't be a secret and thus cannot be a trade secret.   If it is not possible to make use of the research while keeping it a secret, trade secret protection is not the asnwer.
As you correctly suggest, the facts and truth contained in a research paper are usually not protectable by copyright.    Taking credit for someone else's work may be actionable in some select circumstances where the deception results in some undeserved material gain to the deceiver.   In other circumstances taking credit for someone else's work might result in defamation of the actual researcher.  Very often however, plagiarism is not actionable.
IP Logged



Posts: 1
Re: Protecting Research
« Reply #2 on: Sep 2nd, 2005, 2:25pm »
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I hope you do mind if I join in the discussion:
If you are working in research and especially work you do not want to reveal how can you prove the origin of the work if this is stolen and/or plagiarized?  
For a while now I have been using various websites to register Intellectual Property in order to prove the work that came from my hand was in my possession at a certain moment in time. There have been many comments on this (excellent) website about the pro's and con's of such a service, but in regard to work that has to remain a secret I believe the pro's far outweigh the con's in this area.
I remember back in the 80's there was an argument between two laboratories - one in the US and the other in France as to who first discovered the AIDS virus. The arguments and accusations went on for a long time until the French were proclaimed to be responsible for the discovery after an investigation by independent organizations.  
Of course R&D  in the sciences are entered into logs and journals but these are not always kept up to date or competently written and filed- which can lead to other problems not admissible in a court of law Chen vs Bouchard, interference no. 103,675
If the online registration of IP had been around then, the argument would have been settled within seconds.  
Of course then -and now in relation to the question by Jane D. we have trade secrets to protect, so why would I register anything online?
One of the reasons why I use the service is because no 'content' of the registered data is uploaded to the registration servers. So it is impossible for any person to view the content of the registration. It's actually like sending someone a photo of your fingerprint. They cannot see if you are tall, small, blond or dark! Yet you are the only person with that fingerprint. And that can be matched to you. When I register a file - or any type of data - they take the digital fingerprint of that data, connect it to your identity, encrypt it, put a time stamp on it (which cannot be changed but can be audited - ie where does the time originate etc), then this is registered on different computers worldwide.  
On some sites the registered data is also registered with an lawyer/notary - so this completes in various countries the legal end of the matter.  
Indeed having a plagiarism label hanging around your neck can be more then uncomfortable - you could end up on the website - where you meet some interesting names... but first you have to prove it was in your possession.  
What better way (and easy) way then doing it online. This time I'll not mention any names because I see people getting hit over the head with the 'school cane' for this, but all can be found through Google.
PS: One of the services  offers the registration of IP free to students in higher education in order to help them become more aware of IP protection of their work.
« Last Edit: Sep 2nd, 2005, 2:29pm by Green » IP Logged
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