This general overview illustrates the importance of effectively managing intellectual property (IP) and tangible property (TP) in the development of biotechnology-based products. It also emphasises the value of partnerships between the public and private sector in projects aimed at helping developing countries, as these nations often lack the capacity and resources to manage such issues.

As well as providing helpful definitions of legal and technical terminologies, the authors use a real and a fictional case study to demonstrate the various issues that inventors should consider. Examples include knowing the origins of every component of the product or system, any associated licences and patents, identifying ownership of resources, and having a suitable recording policy in laboratory notebooks, as well as awareness and training among staff.

As yet there is no international patent system, meaning that extra considerations must be taken when attempting to transfer technology across the globe. This has an impact on products destined for developing countries that must be taken into account early in the development process. However, the authors advise against undue anxiety relating to IP and TP. They stress that these issues should be viewed as simply another aspect of life in modern research laboratories, both in developing and industrialised countries.