Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center often fails to disclose federal funding of inventions on initial patent

Summary:

  • A review of the “certificate of correction” to patents assigned to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center finds frequent failures to disclose federal funding on initial patent applications.
  • When Fred Hutchinson reported no federal funding on patent applications, it was wrong 45 percent of the time, according to corrections later filed with the USPTO.

On October 19, 2017, I ran a query of the USPTO database of granted patents to identify patents granted to the Seattle based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

A search for all patents assigned to “fred hutchinson” identified 151 patents.

Results of Search in US Patent Collection db for: AN/”fred hutchinson”: 151 patents.

I then ran a query to identify all of the patents that did not declare federal funding in the patent. This query identified 29 patents.

Results of Search in US Patent Collection db for:
(AN/”fred hutchinson” ANDNOT GOVT/government): 29 patents.

Finally, I checked each of the 29 patents that did not identify federal funding for a “certificate of correction’ on the topic of federal funding of the invention. The results are presented in the table below. Of the 29 patents that did not originally declare federal funding, 13 were later amended to disclose federal grants and federal government rights in the patents.

The high rate of corrections (45 percent of patents that initially claimed no federal funding were later corrected) illustrates the challenges of using text base query tools to identify federal rights, since none of the corrections are stored in text searchable formats.

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James Love

Director of Knowledge Ecology International, from the Washington, DC office.