Preprint / Version 1

A Brief Guide to Patents for Academic Scientists


  • Derek Schawn Wang
  • Vamsi V. J. Varanasi



patent, patent law, science policy, start-up, technology transfer


While the established infrastructure of academia promotes ventures into unknown intellectual territory, translating technologies from the enclaves of esoteric journals to the lives of everyone remains a challenge. Patents play a crucial role in the world beyond the university setting by disseminating academic work to those who can use it while financially protecting them. We discuss the reasons why an academic scientist would or would not patent, review the basics of patents relevant to a university setting, walk through the steps of filing patents at a university, and provide a more holistic analysis of the role of patents in various industries. We hope that you know enough about patents by the conclusion of this document to informedly decide whether you want to care about them, and that you have the basic vocabulary to dive into the details with experts should you decide you do.


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