During my PhD, I designed an algorithm that has been patented. For this patent, I share part of the intellectual property with my old University. After publication of the patent, we have also produced a scientific paper that has been published on a research journal.

In this situation, my understanding is that the method cannot be used for commercial applications but can be used for the purpose of academic research.

My questions is, can I still share the code online to allow other researcher / interested people to try the technique for themeselves?

Maybe I should add a disclaimer saying that it can't be used for commercial applications if you are not authorized. For example, that seems to be the case for the SIFT implementation in OpenCV. Note that both the paper and the patent already give more than enough information on how to reproduce the algorithm.

  • As part of the societal trade off of patents it is fundamental that they explain how to make and use the invention to one skilled in the art. The other side of that trade is the government helps the owner prevent people from actually doing so during the enforceable life of the patent. The fact that someone can duplicate the invention from the patent does not grant the right to do so. It is the key feature of a patent, not a happenstance of this isnstance.
    – George White
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


My understanding is that the research exemption is narrow and primarily aimed at generic drug development. Just because the algorithm might be used by an academic institution doesn't mean it avoids infringement. After all, the institution avoids purchasing the patented software which means a potential loss of income for the patent holder. That said, the owner of the patent decides whether or not to pursue infringement. You could work out an agreement with your university to allow purely academic usage and make that publicly known.

Please understand that I am not a lawyer so this isn't legal advice.

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