Is is possible for any to commercialize my published research paper once it is published in a renowned journal, I haven't applied for the patent? I know that once you are published, the knowledge becomes public and anyone can have the access of the information. I also know public knowledge can't be patented.

If there is no protection, then why researcher publish their work in these journal and also why these publications hold on to these researcher's research and get paid but not the researchers?

1 Answer 1


In the US, there is a one year grace period for inventors to file a patent application after public disclosure. Such disclosure does prevent you from obtaining patent protection in most other countries. That said, how do you know that other researchers have published without filing for patent protection? Patent applications typically take 18 months to publish after filing. A new technology published in a journal may easily have a patent application filed without your knowledge.

To address questions in your comments, once the grace period passes, you have no control over your technology so you can't sue others for commercial use. Unlike patents, there is no requirement for an academic publication to fully enable a new technology so you might protect some aspects of your ideas. However you won't make many friends trying to do so. As the expert in your technology, you are in the best position to pursue and patent important improvements.

Academics publish for many reasons other than commercial reward. Career growth in academics is based substantially on quality and quantity of the author's publications. Publications, especially in well respected journals increases the researcher's profile within their field which may lead to collaborations and further career progress.

  • Thank you so much for the replay. I know about the grace period but what if you are out of that grace period and there is some company making buck out of your research because you haven't patented it. Can the original researcher sue the company? Also, can we solve this problem with blockchain?
    – B L Λ C K
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 0:40
  • If the original researcher applied for a patent and then that patent issues, the patent owner can sue the infringing company. I believe you can sue for damages since the application is published, but I'm not a lawyer so I can't say for sure. If you are out of the grace period and haven't filed an application, then you have no recourse at all. If you have some additional question regarding blockchain, then you'll need to post a new question. I don't know how that would relate to patents.
    – Eric S
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 1:07
  • 1
    Scientist publish to advance the cause of human knowledge. You or the publication most likely have copyright rights to control the word-for-word reprinting but you have no other rights unless you sucessfully pursue them via the patent system.
    – George White
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 1:43
  • @BLΛCK I edited my answer to attempt to more fully respond to your comments.
    – Eric S
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 22:00

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