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Academics need pressure from above to patent, expert says


Universities must get better at encouraging their researchers to file patents for their work, an innovation expert has said.

Benjamin Soffer, head of strategic industry partnerships at King’s College London, said that researchers are failing society by not taking their discoveries to the market. He was speaking to Research Fortnight at the British Council’s Going Global conference in Berlin on 13 May.

“If a professor discovers a molecule that potentially cures cancer and a patent is not filed, they are essentially doing a dis-service to society because no-one will invest the billion dollars that are needed to develop a drug,” Soffer said. “So this level of awareness in academia that filing patents is a good thing is a must-do thing, is very critical. Today, I have a feeling that this is not necessarily the case.”

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