NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy: Patent and Intellectual Property Considerations

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) implemented a new data management and sharing policy (DMSP) on January 25, 2023. The policy outlines key requirements for all NIH-funded investigators related to planning, budgeting, submitting, and complying with an approved Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Plan.

One of the new NIH requirements is that researchers share their data in a public repository at the end of a grant performance period or at the time of an associated publication, whichever is earlier. From an intellectual property perspective, this creates a potential concern that data are publicly available before a patent application can be filed, which could jeopardize the University's ability to obtain patent protection.

NIH does, however, address the potential need to withhold data for the purpose of securing patents and provides some guidance on when a delay in the disclosure of research findings is appropriate and what to include in your DMS plan if a patentable invention may result from the project. Tech Comm recommends building additional time into the DMS plan to accommodate this delay by including language in the grant application indicating the potential need for additional time to submit a patent application before publicly sharing data.

To learn more, see this resource on patent and intellectual property considerations, created jointly by the Tech Comm office and the UMN Libraries to help researchers navigate this critical issue.

If you have questions about the DMS policy or if you think your research may result in a patent, contact the Tech Comm office.