Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property
In this mini-course, you will learn about the theory of patents, patent rules and what makes for a strong patent, among other topics. You will learn how to protect your intellectual property by building and maintaining patent fences and we will examine important legal and policy issues as they relate to drug discovery and development.
Buy Course - 99.00 USD

Course Outline

Welcome – Mini-course Objectives

  1. Welcome to the Mini-course Intellectual Property

Mini-course: Intellectual Property

  1. Mini-course Intro
  2. Section 1 – Philosophy and History of Patents, Briefly
  3. Section 2 – What Can and Cannot Be Patented
  4. Section 3 – Patent Structure: First Page, Specifications and Claims
  5. Section 4 – Kinds of Patents: Products or Processes
  6. Section 5 – What Makes for A Strong Patent
  7. Section 6 – Building and Maintaining Patent Fences
  8. Section 7 – Company Patent Reviews: The Company's Intellectual Property Committee
  9. Section 8 – Are Genes and Other Natural Products Patentable
  10. Section 9 – Important Legislative & Policy Issues
  11. Section 10 – Exclusivity Period for Branded Biologics

Mini-textbook

  1. Mini-course textbook

Philosophy and History of Patents

  1. Solving the Drug Patent Problem

Patent Structure: First Page, Specifications, and Claims

  1. America Invents Act – 2011

Are Genes and Other Natural Products Patentable?

  1. Supreme Court Opinion on Gene Patenting
  2. Analyzing Nature-Based Products Module

Important Legislative & Policy Issues

  1. Judge tosses $200M award to Merck in hep C patent suit
  2. Broad Institute Gets Patent on Revolutionary Gene-Editing Method
  3. Who Owns the Biggest Biotech Discovery of the Century?
  4. CRISPR Patent Fight Now a Winner-Take-All Match
  5. CRISPR-Cas systems and methods for altering expression of gene products
  6. Gilead to pay Merck $200 million in damages for Hep C patents

Final exam

  1. Mini-course Certificate of Completion Exam
  2. Certificate of Completion Exam – Intellectual Property

About the Course

NOTE: Some of the content that appears in this standalone mini-course also appears in our more comprehensive 101 course – Beyond the Science: The Business of Drug Development.


Strong patents are one of the most important aspects of a successful biotechnology company. If you haven’t been involved in patenting an invention, you may have misunderstandings about what can and what cannot be patented and what is important in a patent. Furthermore, to communicate effectively with patent lawyers, a basic understanding of patent law is necessary. Since biotechnology companies should be looking constantly to strengthen their patent positions to keep competitors at bay, you will also learn some aspects of company patent strategy.

The mini-course features both basic material and advanced material, depending on how deeply you wish to pursue a topic. In the basic part of the mini-course, you will learn about the theory of patents, patent rules and what makes for a strong patent, among other topics. In the advanced part, you will learn how to protect your intellectual property by building and maintaining patent fences and by frequent review of patent position through the company’s intellectual property committee. Finally, the mini-course will and we will explore important legal and policy issues as they relate to drug discovery and development.

Basic materials

  • Why patents are necessary
  • What can and cannot be patented?
  • Patent structure
  • Some patent rules: inventors, premature disclosure, first to file, full disclosure
  • Provisional applications
  • Kinds of patents
  • What makes for a strong patent?
  • Follow-on and international patents

Advanced materials

  • Building and maintaining patent fences
  • Company patent reviews
  • Important legal, legislative & policy issues
    • Recent debate and court rulings on natural products patents
    • Patent rights battle over the Crispr-Cas9 technology?
    • Patent battle over the antiviral drug Sofosbuvir?
  • Exclusivity period for branded biologics

Each online mini-course is equivalent to about 2-3 live classroom lectures.

Purchase of any mini-course in this series provides several resources:

  • The mini-course with dozens of visuals and audios
  • A mini-textbook of the mini-course material, yours to download and keep
  • Several handouts to supplement both the mini-course and mini-textbook
  • A Certificate of Completion for those who pass a simple exam on key points
The mini-courses feature both basic material and advanced material, depending on how deeply you wish to pursue a topic.
There are several ways to learn:
  • Look and listen to get a general overview of the topic
  • Study the material by stopping frequently as you go through the mini-course
  • Read the mini-textbook to supplement the mini-course and to keep as a future reference
  • Delve deeply into a topic by reading the handouts and accessing directly the Internet address references on your screen
  • Arrange for an Office Hours session with the lecturer as an earlier adopter

About the Instructors

Lynn Klotz

Lynn Klotz, Co-Managing Director and Chief Science Officer

Lynn C. Klotz was formerly an Assistant and Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Harvard University (1971-1979) and a visiting Associate Professor at Princeton University (1979-1981). At Harvard, he was a recipient of the prestigious Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar grant for teaching excellence. He recently served as Research Scholar at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

He was a founder and board member of BioTechnica International (1981-1988)-an agricultural and natural products company. While at BioTechnica, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the publisher Charles Scribner's Sons, along with co-author Edward Sylvester, for the 1983 book The Gene Age: Genetic Engineering and the Next Industrial Revolution.

In the fall of 2011 and 2012, Dr. Klotz taught a graduate-level Harvard Extension Course, BIOT E-210, Biotechnology and Drug Development: Tools for Business.

William Diehl

William Diehl, ​Co-Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer

William C. Diehl, Ph.D. is Coordinator of Online Graduate Programs in the Adult Education program and Assistant Professor at The Pennsylvania State University at University Park, PA. Dr. Diehl serves as Interviews Editor for The American Journal of Distance Education, and is an expert reviewer for other academic journals. He is the founder of the International Museum of Distance Education and Technology project.

Additionally, Diehl is a consultant in the corporate, higher education and government sectors. Professional experience also includes work as a K-12 teacher, web designer and developer, instructional designer, and multimedia specialist.