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Holý patent expiration to hurt Czech science /23. 05. 2014/

Patents from key researcher to start expiring in 2017, nothing is set to replace them Czech science may have serious financial problems from 2017, when the patents of the late pioneering Czech chemist Antonín Holý will start expiring, daily Mlada frontá Dnes (MfD) writes today.

Holý's team took part in the development of antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B. The annual profit from the patents is about 1.4 billion Kč, which is 95 percent of the profits of all Czech patents.

Czech science lacks a personality as financially successful as Holý (1936-2012). In general, Czech researchers fail to have their inventions used in real life and thus make them profitable, the paper writes.

Only about 10 percent of Czech patents are sold, Václav Marek, director of Česká hlava (Czech head), said, adding that investors have bought licenses for 214 of some latest 2,300 Czech patents.

Česká hlava, which is an organization promoting and supporting Czech science both home and abroad, concluded that bad contacts of Czech scientists, their lack of knowledge of the situation on the market and a bad presentation by the state abroad are the main reasons why investors reject even promising Czech research projects, MfD writes.

The results of the analysis of the failure of Czech research projects will be presented in the upper house of parliament today.

Czech scientific teams undoubtedly achieve excellent results, but they collide with economic barriers, the state of the market, the political situation and a lack of information, Marek said.

“Our conclusions are alarming. They reveal that top scientific results are not applied and the finances earmarked for them are wasted due to a gap between the production sphere and research,” Marek told the paper.

Moreover, Czechs do not have enough experience with filing European and world patents. As a result, many ideas get lost or they are presented by somebody else, MfD writes.

In the past 10 years, Czechs filed 1211 applications to the European Patent Office, while Austrians filed about 15,000, the Dutch 66,000 and the Germans 256,000, the paper writes.

The most active in filing patents have traditionally been the Americans and the Japanese. In the European Union, only Slovaks file a relatively lower number of patents than Czechs, MfD says.

Marek pointed to the missing effort to create the image of the Czech Republic as a country with top research. Most Czech research institutions do not have real contacts with the world players in their fields and the diplomatic missions do not have them either, he told the paper.

The Czech state has no reliable long-term strategy of support for science, Marek indicated. He said it is no exception that the state decides to prefer and subsidize something, but soon afterwards it restricts its support.

“The state administration initiated research into the liquidation of chemical weapons, but when it was developed the state lost interest in applying it within NATO,” Marek told MfD.

Zdenek Kus, rector of the Technical University in Liberec, north Bohemia, known for its technologies for nanofiber production, shares this view.

“The state is unable to set the main priorities for research and provide sufficient support for them. As a result, many various projects are subsidized and there is not enough money for viable, competitive research — for equipment, devices and especially quality people who often go to work abroad,” Kus said.

Source: Praguepost.com, 21.05.2014. Full article can be found here.

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