Is is legal to use research papers to build a product / service (and you're not the researcher)


pretty much as the title says...

Ideas Research Business Plan

asked May 5 '11 at 01:30
13 points
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  • I've never come at this from any side other than working with the researchers, but you might want to check for related patents. A lot of university research also gets patented as well as being published. – Rain 13 years ago
  • @Rain @Sylvain Peyronnet @Kekito - if nothing is mentioned in the papers itself, is it safe to make an assumption? how can i check w/o conducting a search? – Frank 13 years ago
  • I'd do a patent search under the researcher's name as a starting point. Also, it is risky, but you might just try asking. A lot of professors are more than willing to talk about their research. Particularly if they think there might be a consulting role for them at the company in the future. – Rain 13 years ago
  • @Franck Rain is right : contact directly the researchers and ask them about patents. And don't hesitate to ask for potential collaboration (with them or with the university), you'll be surprise how cheap it can be. – Sylvain Peyronnet 13 years ago

3 Answers


If it is not patented, it is legal to use it (in most countries). Some (very big) companies have a lot of people working on reading research papers to sort out if something profitable can be done based on them.

However, most of the time it is cheaper to contract with the university/researcher in order to really understand how things are really done (most papers are very elliptic).

answered May 5 '11 at 03:39
Sylvain Peyronnet
371 points


In most of the cases you will have to do a lot of work yourself, in order to successfully apply some research results.

Typically, there's a big difference between theoretical and applied research.

Applied research is more focused towards implementation problems, realizability, etc. and can be more easily used to build a product/service. In most of the cases, such research is accompanied by a patent.

On the other hand, theoretical research mostly involves the development of solutions to currently open problems. It leaves out the implementation part; at best you will see a simple simulation example with no practical significance.

I would say that in most cases you will need to develop your own "research" results and extend existing ones, that will lead to a product.

answered Jun 1 '11 at 15:45
Dyn Zack
216 points


Patents aren't the only concern. When dealing with written ideas think COPYRIGHT first. You need to ask the copyright holder in order to legally republish the research publication. You can cite and paraphrase freely, of course.

answered Jun 1 '11 at 16:10
Henry The Hengineer
4,316 points

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