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Publication and Patent Rights
The University is committed to an academic policy ensuring that faculty members can disseminate the results of their research as they wish. In keeping with this commitment, the University has adopted the intellectual property policy and procedures, that encourage the faculty's customary manner of disseminating research results, while providing the means to preserve rights to intellectual property.
In terms of patent law, publication or public disclosure of an invention means the non-confidential transfer of knowledge--orally or in writing, by exhibits, demonstrations, public use, or sale of the invention. Of course, journal articles and catalogued theses are considered publications. Abstracts, typewritten papers, slides and projected material, which are distributed or discussed at non-confidential meetings, conferences, seminars, or forums, are also examples of what may constitute publication or public disclosure. Finally, grant applications once awarded are put into the public domain and may also constitute a public disclosure. Electronic transmission of abstracts, articles or research reports is also a form of publication or public disclosure. Scientists should be aware that many journals and scientific societies often place material on the World Wide Web prior to written publication, creating an increased potential for loss of patent rights.
The key factors which determine whether disclosure of scientific data represents a public disclosure which can be construed as prior art include the nature of the disclosure (for example, a lab talk or formal presentation), and whether what was disclosed "taught one of normal skill in the art" to carry out the invention. In cases of uncertainty, it is usually best to seek the advice of patent counsel through RFUMS's technology transfer office.
On September 16, 2011 U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law (P.L. 112-29) the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), First-Inventor-To-File. Effective March 16, 2013 United States transitioned to the First Inventor to File (FITF) system from the first to invent (FIT) system.