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   My supervisor patented my work!!
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   Author  Topic: My supervisor patented my work!!  (Read 3480 times)
Nazli kasiri
My supervisor patented my work!!
« on: Nov 17th, 2007, 9:02am »
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did my MSc at a Univ a couple of years ago. Based on my background, my supervisor suggested a topic for my research.
I worked on the idea and made a new strcuture.
We published a paper and I graduated.
A few days ago, to my surprise, I discovered that he  
patented my work without telling me or adding me as  
an inventor.
The patent was filed right after we submitted the paper and is basically a copy of the paper I wrote.
Can he do that? and what coarse of action I can take?
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Skunk Works
Re: My supervisor patented my work!!
« Reply #1 on: Nov 19th, 2007, 11:05am »
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Yes, he can do that.
Indeed, clearly he did.
What coarse of action can you take?
That's one whale of a question.
I doubt you can properly get a handle on the situation and all of your options by posting questions here. Your situation is characterized by many facts that need to be understood. Those facts should not be, and probably can't be, properly laid out and understood through this website.
So, we're back to the old line ... you probably need help from a patent attorney. I doubt you can tackle this matter for free. You may have to invest in the situation to become informed.
Here's a "maybe" that you may not like.
You may not be an inventor at all.
Your supervisor suggested a topic.
You worked on the idea.
Inventorship is defined in the claims of the patent.
Those who contributed conceptually to the claimed inventions are inventors.
Often, people are credited for their contributions in research by being included as a co-author in a research paper. It doesn't work that way in patents.
Also, if you are an inventor, you may not rightfully own anything. You may have signed away any ownership in your inventions when you accepted employment. I signed away such ownership when I was working for a university as a graduate student.
No one here can advise you very far in view of the little information you've posted. It may not be a good idea to post much more information.
I recommend you read the claims of the patent. The claims are the numbered paragraphs at the end of the patent. Do you feel you originated subject matter in those claims?
If you feel the answer is "NO," then there may be no problem to remedy.
If you feel the answer is "YES," then you probably have an expensive and uphill battle before you on your way to a remedy.
A private consulation with a patent attorney may help you.
In an ideal world, you could ask your supervisor about the situtation, and he'd put you in touch with the attorney or agent who patented the invention, and you'd get a straight forward explanation. But by merely asking ... you may put everyone on the defensive.
I doubt this has been the clear answer you'd like ... but it's an answer.
By the way ... are you sure a patent has issued?
From what you've said, if I may guess, you may be confusing the filing of a patent application with the issuance of a patent.
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Posts: 202
Re: My supervisor patented my work!!
« Reply #2 on: Nov 19th, 2007, 12:52pm »
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I second the suggestion of consulting with an attorney (which I am not, btw).
And just to throw it out here, if the patent publication in question or parts of it are truly just a copy of your paper, I would imagine you might be able to sue for copyright infringement in addition to other options you may have to extract a check for the commercial value of your contribution to the patent.
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Nazli kasiri
Re: My supervisor patented my work!!
« Reply #3 on: Nov 19th, 2007, 5:27pm »
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Thanks for your help.  
 Yes, the patent has been issued, and the funny thing
is he never told me about it.
The idea in the claim is clearly mine. Even the day I showed him my results, I remember he told me to keep
it confidential before we publish it!!!!!
I guess there is not much I can practically do. Sad
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Posts: 3472
Re: My supervisor patented my work!!
« Reply #4 on: Nov 19th, 2007, 5:50pm »
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I think CriterionD's exploration of inventorship is on the right track.   With supervisor/researcher combinations, there can be a question of who conceives and who reduces to practice.  The conceiver is the inventor no matter how much more work reduction to practice turns out to be.
Obviously I don't have an opinion about the end result in your case as you don't provide much detail.
OTOH, the copyright infringement possibility doesn't sound like an avenue to explore IMO.  Sounds like you guys are listed as co-authors on the paper.
« Last Edit: Nov 19th, 2007, 5:50pm by Isaac » IP Logged

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