How we can we help: Patent searches

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office issues patents when an invention is novel, non-obvious and useful. Though these seem like straightforward requirements, a lot of work behind the scenes ensures inventions meet those criteria.

What do scientists do when they get a new idea or direction to pursue in their laboratories? They get on their computers and scour PubMed. They read, learn and comprehend the research already published. They begin to find unanswered questions.

The same line of thought goes into writing a grant proposal.

But there is one gaping hole: Many scientists fail to perform the same diligent search through existing patents or patent applications. In turn, the oversight prevents scientists from engaging in projects that are truly ground-breaking. Patent searches would help researchers find new, untapped ground.

Patent searches are part of the evaluation process at UNeMed. A member of the licensing team conducts this search to look for preexisting patents or related patent applications. If they can’t find anything, the patent potential increases.

At UNeMed, we hope to educate UNMC scientists on how to prevent duplicative research when preparing a commercialization plan in a grant. As part of our Innovation Week, UNeMed’s Director of Intellectual Property, Jason Nickla, J.D., will lead a hands-on workshop on how to run patent or patent searches. This workshop will answer some of these questions:

  • How do patent searches help your research?
  • What are the tools and databases to perform patent searches?
  • When is the right time for you to perform patent searches?

At our recently concluded Tech Transfer Boot Camp, a doctoral student said that she never knew about patent searches. Patent searches, she said, would change the way she approached new ideas and experiments in her young career.

The workshop is planned for today in the Yanney Conference Center, which is located on the ground floor of the Buffet Cancer Center. The two-hour workshop begins at 3 p.m., and is free and open to all. A light snack and refreshments will be provided. Guests are invited to bring their own laptops to practice patent searches.

This is part of a series of blog posts covering the many services UNeMed provides for faculty, students and staff at UNMC and UNO. Come for our next installment on Inventions. Here’s the full list of planned future topics:

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