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Using patents to protect your IP in the biology field

If you're doing groundbreaking work in biology, you'll want it protected.

Working as a lab scientist means operating in a fairly competitive field. Many in the science community are actively jockeying for pride and prestige among their peers, looking to be the first to make important new breakthroughs and discoveries. This means there's often a high level of secrecy surrounding everything they do.

The last thing you want is to see is someone else in the field steal your idea and run with it.

Obtaining patents can be a great way to get a leg up on one's competitors in this regard. Say, for example, you're working as a biologist and you've developed a biological invention that's never been seen before, such as a modified strand of DNA. The last thing you want is to see is someone else in the field steal your idea and run with it, taking all the credit for themselves – so why not get a patent? This can keep you protected.

Australia allows patents for biological inventions

If you've done something unique in the biological field, there's a good chance that patent law in Australia can help you protect it. According to IP Australia, you can obtain a standard patent if you've invented something like a genotypically or phenotypically modified organism – this includes bacteria, plants and other non-human organisms.

Plenty of biologists are taking advantage of this option already, often for innovations like strands of synthetic DNA or nucleic acid sequences. Protecting your intellectual property in this situation makes it far easier to maintain control over your work in the field.

Maintaining secrecy about your work

As with any other form of patent protection, one of the challenges of patenting a biological invention under intellectual property law in Australia is maintaining secrecy. If word of your project gets out, you might become ineligible to patent it – and there might no longer be any point to patenting, anyway.

You might need to keep your idea under wraps while patenting it.
You might need to keep your idea under wraps while patenting it.

For this reason, Inventors Association Australia recommends keeping your idea under wraps as much as possible. This can be tricky when you're trying to pitch it to others in an effort to get grant money – you may have to find a delicate balance, revealing just enough to pique people's interest without spoiling your idea altogether.

Getting all the legal help you need

Figuring out these challenging situations in intellectual property law can be difficult.

At Alder IP, we'd be happy to put you in touch with a patent attorney in Sydney who can evaluate your situation and give you legal advice. Just give us a call, and we can get that process started for you.