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Patent Strategy for Researchers and Research Managers, 3rd Edition by H. Jackson Knight

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Chapter 4

Researching with Intellectual Property in Mind

4.1 Introduction

Ask an average person to name an important inventor and there's a good chance they will mention the name of Thomas Edison, who made important life-changing inventions. Ask the same person to name a researcher, and they might not have an answer, even though Edison surely conducted research to make his inventions. The popular image of a researcher is of a highly educated person in a lab coat working in a modern laboratory making discoveries that are hard to understand and explain. The image that has been fostered for inventors, however, is that of an average person who is stubborn but creative and willing to work all hours of the day and night in his garage to perfect his invention. During their lifetime, both inventors and researchers have the potential to obtain many patents for their inventions.

If one is a member of a research organization, there are probably a few individuals in that organization that have patents; some may even have a significant number of patents, and some of these patents may have been crucial to the success of the business. However, the average researcher may never be named as an inventor on a patent, much less on a significant number of patents.

Likewise, the independent inventor may have many ideas that might be turned into inventions, but many of the projects or inventions to which an independent inventor might devote considerable time may never be patented for one reason or the ...

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