Life science patents are designed to protect innovative techniques and give patent holders a competitive edge in this field of technology. 

Intellectual Property Strategies in Biotech and Life Science Industries

In the field of biotech and life science, innovation can result in intellectual property across the following IP regimes:

  • Patents that secure exclusive rights to an invention
  • Trade secrets that provide protection for underlying processes and techniques
  • Copyrights for written protocols, along with the creative manner involved in presenting the innovation through various marketing materials, including video and websites
  • Trademarks that protect the branding (including names, taglines, and logos) and that work to connect all of the previous assets into a valuable business model

When it comes to biotech and life sciences, you should assess the patent landscape early, ideally in the research and development stages. During this early phase of the process, conducting a patent search can be valuable. By conducting this search, you'll be able to evaluate whether or not there's space for an innovative invention.

More on Patents

You'll have the ability to identify potential infringement issues, and you'll be able to conduct the design process in a way that avoids patent infringement. The research and development you do can lead to patentable innovations.

You can claim ownership to these innovations when you file a patent application. Securing a patent prevents others from using, making, or selling the patented item because the patent holder has exclusive rights to the creation.

The road to market for biotech and life science technology can be long and costly, so securing patent rights is especially important in this field. You may lose your incentive to bring your creation to the market by the time your innovation begins to pay off if you haven't secured patent rights to it. Proper patent protection offers owners exclusive rights that can give them a competitive edge in the marketplace, which can build value.

Trade Secret Protection

You might also choose trade secret protection for inventions with subject matter that's difficult to reverse engineer. Trade secrets can be an alternative method of IP protection.

You'll still have exclusive rights with trade secret protection, and you can enjoy the competitive advantage and increased value it offers. You don't have to register a trade secret. All you have to is keep the secret.

You can use other confidentiality measures, such as non-disclosure agreements that show the effort you're willing to make to keep a trade secret. However, the protection that trade secrets offer is only effective for those innovations that competitors can't figure out based on public knowledge. As long as they can't figure out the secret, they can't copy it, so that's your competitive edge.

About Copyrights

Copyrights offer protection for original works of tangible media. In the biotech and life sciences field, copyrights are usually applied to protect licensable protocols developed for certain processes and technology. Copyrights can also be used to protect other original works that you've authored, such as: 

  • Websites 
  • Videos 
  • Marketing copy

The copyrighting process isn't as complicated as registering a trademark or patent, but you might still want to work with an attorney who's experienced in IP matters.

Branding is just as important in biotech and life science as it is in any industry involving the sale of differentiated goods and services. The right branding conveys safety, quality, trust, and efficacy.

Other Matters

You don't want to infringe on someone else's trademark, so it's important to do a thorough trademark search before registering your own. You can also protect your distinctive marks by registering trademarks. Your business's most valuable IP asset is often your trademark.

Gaining recognition and building goodwill through your mark takes time and effort. You'll be able to build your brand more effectively when you have patents or trade secrets in place that prevent competitors from copying your innovations. This gives you the space you need in the marketplace to build that important goodwill.

Like patents in other industries, life science patents can be invaluable in offering patent owners unique rights and protections for their innovative creations. Start with a search as early as possible to maintain your competitive edge.

If you need help with patents, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.