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Encouragement of Discovery and Invention

    Naturevolume 135pages933935 (1935) | Download Citation



    FEW years ago the International Committee of Intellectual Co-operation, “considering that intellectual property was not then sufficiently protected and that scientific property particularly was at that time not protected at all, entrusted a subcommittee consisting of MM. Destree, Millikan, Ruffini and de Torres Quevedo with the duty of examining the means by which this protection might be assured”. Many schemes for affording protection were examined, among them being one for the establishment of an international bureau; a second, for the creation of a fund contributed to by manufacturers; a third, for the donation of Government funds to the discoverer; and a fourth, for the extension of the patent system to include scientific discoveries. No definite scheme for protecting scientific discoveries was, however, adopted, and in consequence the problem of affording protection was afterwards reconsidered by a committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. After careful consideration of the problem the committee expressed the opinion, first, that the results of research (other than medical research) that have any possible commercial importance or industrial application should be patented; and secondly, that apart from this variation of the means at present adopted for protecting scientific discoveries, no practicable and desirable alternative had been proposed. The opinion that the results of research should be patented is apparently being widely followed in Great Britain, if it is permissible to judge from the fifty-second Report of the Comptroller-General of Patents, which has just been published.

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