In this news item:
Mr Ali-Akbar Mehrabian raises some issues that are worthy of serious consideration. Before going into details, I must first declare my ignorance with regard to the Iranian laws regarding protection of intellectual properties, in particular laws that protect rights of scientists and engineers affiliated with academic institutions against commercial exploitation of their inventions by third parties.
Given the last-mentioned fact, personally I believe that not publishing the results of one's researches, for the fear of one's ideas being exploited by others (something that Mr Mehrabian seems to be hinting at) is not only not practicable, but is also against a fundamental principle that has made the scientific project one of the most successful of all projects in the entire human history, namely the principle of openness. (Yes, it is true that one's ideas can be used by others once made public, but where would we be today if we were barred from knowing other people's ideas? Exchange of ideas is a two-way street.)
This is not to say that the remarks by Mr Mehrabian were without merits. Rather, it is my conviction, that solution to the problems that Mr Mehrabian raises must be sought elsewhere, namely in setting up specialized and competent institutions for better protecting the intellectual properties of the country.
For illustration, the patent laws in the USA give all researchers (whether residing in the USA or not and whether US citizens or not) the right to apply for US patents on the contents of their publications over a period of one year from the date of making their relevant work public. In Europe, one can apply for patents on the condition that one's pertinent work has not been made public (i.e., even not sent to a journal for publication) at the time of application. The restrictive nature of the European patent laws has the advantage of enabling one to turn one's patent into one that offers protection worldwide (to be precise, in all countries that have signed a specific international treaty).
In general, in industrial research institutions (such as Alcatel-Lucent/Bell Labs in the USA, Phillips Research Labs in the Netherlands, Siemens in Germany, etc.) nothing can be sent for publication prior to the relevant manuscript having first been examined by a special office (whose members consist of researchers and lawyers specialising in patent laws) in these institutions; these offices are tasked with making patent applications for whatever that they deem as being patentable in any given manuscript. After this process, which delays submission for publication of any given manuscript for only several days, the authors are permitted to make their work public in any way that they deem appropriate. Exception to this rule concerns the cases where the research done is funded by a third party (such as external commercial companies, or the military) on the condition that the research results, being their property, remain secret (this is contractually fixed at the outset).
In recent years, many European universities have set up special departments whose sole task is helping scientists and engineers in patenting their discoveries and possibly helping them (in terms of obtaining the initial funding required for demonstrating the viability of the ideas being patented) in turning their ideas into commercially viable products. The following link may be consulted for seeing how one of the most celebrated universities of Europe (ranked the first in Europe and the fourth in the world) has been acting on the need to protect this university's intellectual properties, and thereby a nation's intellectual capital, without thereby compromising the principle of openness that is so fundamental to the world of thoughts and ideas:
Mr Mehrabian is strongly advised to take notice of this and similar developments elsewhere.