IP issues arise in citizen science in a variety of different ways. Indeed, the more broadly the concept of citizen science is cast, the more diverse the potential IP interests. Some community-based projects, for example, may well involve the sharing of traditional knowledge, whereas open innovation projects are ones that are most likely to raise patent issues and to do so in a context where commercialization is a project goal. Trademark issues may also arise, particularly where a project gains a certain degree of renown. In this study we touch on issues of patenting and commercialization; however, we also recognize that most citizen science projects do not have commercialization as an objective, and have IP issues that flow predominantly from copyright law.
This guide navigates these issues topically and points the reader towards further research and law in this area should they wish to gain an even more comprehensive understanding of the nuances. It accompanies a prior study conducted by the same authors that created a Typology of Citizen Science Projects from an Intellecutal Property Perspective.