CERN, the particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, had previously been reluctant to patent the inventions it has created in its pursuit of subatomic entities. However, the lab recently struck a deal with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to ensure that it profits from its engineers' innovations in fields such as imaging, computing, particle detection, and superconducting magnets.
CERN has traditionally been adverse to patents because most of its funding comes from its 20 European member states, which do not want to have to pay to use the inventions in their own country. For much of its history, CERN has published details of inventions in much the same way that it publishes its scientific discoveries, some of which include the capacitive touchscreen and the hypertext transfer protocol.
However, CERN has become more active in pursuing technology transfers and intellectual property after some successes in the field of medical imaging. Working with WIPO will enable CERN to create mechanisms to further the technology it discovers by helping the lab to exploit its intellectual property through smarter patenting and technology transfers to industry.
From New Scientist
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