Is there a way to know if the authors of a paper filed a patent related to their content? Is this usually documented in the paper, or is it not notated for some reason (i.e. information asymmetry)?

I just want to know if I can use the techniques described in a paper without infringing on a patent.

  • You can communicate with the author, if you are not finding after a lot of googling about the article or the author. – Coder Apr 15 '17 at 5:29
  • @Coder Yes that's true, but was wondering if there was a protocol that was usually followed -- like when authors state there was no conflict of interest in the study. Patents applications are not usually published until 18 months after filing (at least in the US), so nothing is likely to turn up for recent papers. – abc Apr 15 '17 at 17:03

You can lookup the names of the authors in a patents search engine such as Google Patents or PATENTSCOPE. Each patent application has three dates: filing date, publication date, and the issuing date. Once a patent has been filed, it becomes in a state called patent pending. In the US, a patent application is published after 18 months of the filing date and so people can loop it up using search engines. However, in the US, before that, there is no way to tell if the authors submitted a patent application other than asking them. However, that does not constitute a legal issue for you because the authors' work, in the US, is not protected until the patent is issued. So if you cannot find a patent using one of the search engines, it means that the work is not protected and it would still take several/many months for a patent to be issued. Note that in other countries, published patent applications may be protected even if a patent has not yet been granted.

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  • So I guess the answer is "no" unless I contact the authors. – abc Apr 15 '17 at 20:10
  • @abc Look up the authors' names in Google Patents and you may find relevant patents. Other than that, yes, the answer is "no" unless you contact the authors. – Hadi Brais Apr 15 '17 at 20:13
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    "the work is not protected until the patent is issued" has very little value to someone considering using the work, because it's not very interesting to put effort into using a method only to have to cease use when the patent does issue. – Ben Voigt Apr 15 '17 at 20:25
  • @BenVoigt This is useful when you want to use the work AND are willing to pay to use it in the future if it turns out be commercially successful. – Hadi Brais Apr 15 '17 at 21:04
  • Only for patents where mandatory licensing applies. And where it does, a patent future still won't dissuade use any less than patent now. – Ben Voigt Apr 15 '17 at 21:14

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