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Tips for reading patents: a concise introduction for scientists

Expert opinion on therapeutic patents | 8 Feb 2018

KE Donald, KMM Kabir and WA Donald
Abstract
Many commercial and academic institutions protect their commercially valuable research information using patents, making the patent literature a rich and early source of cutting-edge research. While scientists and students often create the data that finds its way into patents, some rarely read the patent literature. Here, we provide an informal and brief collection of hints and tips that may assist scientists and students who do not regularly read the patent literature to locate the key scientific findings that are disclosed by patentees. These tips will introduce the reader to: (i) the general structure of patents and the sections of the patents that scientists and students may find particularly helpful; and (ii) a few factors to keep in mind when using data disclosed in the patent literature, such as patent lifespans, jurisdictions and the patent review processes. Although this is not a comprehensive and complete guide to reading patents, the accessible nature of this informal introduction to patent reading should assist scientists and students to make more effective use of the cutting-edge research disclosed in patent specifications.
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Patent, Kate Winslet, Science
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