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Property Rights Associated with a Patent vs. Tangible (personal) Property

posted by Richard Cahoon at 2012-10-15 16:57:00


Very few people understand the difference between the property rights associated with a patent and tangible (personal) property.  Patent rights grant the patent owner the right to STOP others from making, using, or selling (and a few other acts like exporting or offering for sale).  Patent rights don’t necessarily grant the patent holder the right to possess the invention.  Personal property rights grants the owner a suite of rights – including the right to exclusive possession.  This distinction can become very important when these two fundamentally different rights apply to the same biological invention.  Let’s take a patented apple variety.  The patent owner has the right to stop others from propagating, growing, selling plants or fruit of that variety.

If the patent owner also possesses the plants (a typical situation – but not always), he or she also has the right to exclusive possession of the plants and their fruits – as well as the right to transfer the right of possession to others. But, if someone else has obtained the plants legally, the patent owner can only stop that person from propagating, growing, and selling – but not simple possession!  The distinctions of these two property types are an important part of an overall property right management strategy.  And, that strategy is critical to any commercialization of a biological invention which has tangible aspects and patent coverage.

posted at: 2012-10-15 16:57:00, last updated: 2014-02-09 16:57:27

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