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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Intellectual Property Law
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Experience:  Licensed attorney in private practice.
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My non-profit commissioned a scientific protocol a few years

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My non-profit commissioned a scientific protocol a few years ago. It was published in a Medical Journal in 2015. We would like to now apply for a formal copyright in order to license to others for use. Is this able to be copyrighted?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Ely replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

First, you have to check with the publication. Did you assign all rights to the publication at time of the printing? Or did your non-profit retain rights? See HERE. Many publications request that you turn over the copyright to them at time of publication. So the publication may own the right, I am afraid.

Even if it does (or does not), it is not really possible to copyright a scientific protocol. This is much for the same reason that it is not possible to copyright a recipe: Copyright law does not protect recipes that are mere listings of ingredients. Nor does it protect other mere listings of ingredients such as those found in formulas, compounds, or prescriptions. While scientific protocol is a little more than that, it is in the end a list of steps/ingredients and thus, an attempt to copyright it is likely to fail (or a challenge to it).

Now NOTE: Copyright protection may, however, extend to substantial literary expression—a description, explanation, or illustration, for example—that accompanies a recipe or formula or to a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook. So an original publication by your non-profit which has a more involved piece than just steps/ingredients may be subject to copyright. That is assuming it is not being held already by the publication journal from 2015.

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Expert:  Ely replied 4 months ago.
Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never responded or replied positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!

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