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Write provisional patents not white papers: my advice to Universities

Note: The statistics in this article come from Sydney and NSW Universities who are in the mid range in terms of patent filing activity ahead of most US Universities but behind technology centres like Stanford and MIT.

After visiting now two of Australia’s premiere Universities it is clear to me that there is a major opportunity here. Some stats first:

  • With thousands of researchers and students at each campus and tens and often hundreds of millions invested in education how many projects are submitted for patent application: approx 100 per year.
  • How many of these get provisional filings? 40-60
  • And how many get granted? About 15.

15 patents from hundreds if not thousands of great brains… WHAT A WASTE.

If any of these researchers are like me at all they are capable of at least 10 provisional patent apps per person. So why isn't there thousands of provisional apps being filed?

I hope to find out… but for now here is an idea to explore.

  • Make provisional patent writing a basic requirement of any researcher/ students training.
  • Incentivize them with a 15% royalty on all patent sales/ licenses after expenses.
  • Place all patents in a simple open portal/ database and publish them publicly or at least the abstract of the filing… make sure that everyone gets a chance to know about the idea that is being protected and give them every chance to express interest.
  • The database should be activly marketed to industry and government with a publicity/ media tie in for standout projects.
  • The portal could also encourage rating and cross collaboration using the format of sites like where the inventor and each project can be commented on using community feedback to refine ideas, to expose problems with ideas and to allow great ideas/ patents to percolate to the top.
  • Attach whitepapers to the patent filing AFTER the provisional has been filed.

If this idea is resonating with you and you are working at or with a University, feel free to contact me to explore the opportunity… this is a really important initiative in my mind.


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